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Reefton Distilling Co. welcomes Government backing to assist with expansion

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Reefton Distilling Co. welcomes Government backing to assist with expansion and help create jobs in a small regional town.

Reefton Distilling Co. is a modern distillery at the forefront of spirit production in New Zealand, nestled deep in the untamed wilderness of New Zealand’s West Coast, here they produce a range of international award-winning premium spirits with a distinct West Coast flavour.

With the doors to their distillery open for just under two years, Reefton Distilling Co. has continued to experience unprecedented demand for their products, which include their range of Little Biddy Gin, Wild Rain Vodka and Reefton Distilling Co. fruit Liqueurs.

PGF Loan backs expansion project The business has quickly outgrown their current space and following a successful capital raise in March 2020 they purchased land and buildings in Reefton. This new facility will meet the immediate and longer-term needs of future growth, providing space for increased production including a brewhouse and still room, storage and plant room. This expansion project will also allow the distillery to host even greater tourist numbers through their cellar door and popular visitor experiences, all of which will have a positive effect on the local economy.

Minister for Regional Economic Development Hon Shane Jones recently announced that Reefton Distilling Co. will receive a $928,000 Provincial Growth Fund loan to help relocate its distillery to this larger premises and help buy the equipment needed to expand operations.

The relocation and fit out of the distillery will provide local construction jobs and significant spend in the region. Construction work is expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2021.

With Reefton Distilling Co.’s expansion having already created a further seven to eight full time jobs, additional roles are expected to be created in early 2021. The new development will also provide education and training opportunities for young people through part time employment, work experience and internships.

Well timed news

The news of this additional funding came just as Reefton Distilling Co. hosted its Annual General Meeting in Reefton on Saturday 26 September. Founder and Chief Executive Patsy Bass was delighted to share the information with shareholders who had travelled the length and breadth of the country to attend and enjoy all that Reefton has to offer first hand.

Patsy Bass thanked the foundation investors who provided the seed funding and got behind the idea of a gutsy little West Coast distillery to create jobs and a tourist attraction in a small regional town. She went on to thank those who had come in and invested in the later capital raise earlier this year and concluded that the recent backing from Government by way of a loan from the Provincial Growth Fund showed how it was possible to grow a business from the ground up using and highlighting all of the things that a region has to offer. Bass went on to say "Reefton may have seemed an unlikely place to start a distillery, but we have proved that Reefton has everything needed to make world class spirits. Freshwater springs provide pure water sources used in our products, native botanicals are foraged fresh from the Reefton rainforest prior to distillation, and our staff our exceptional in their fields"

Bass continued to share how the provenance and story behind their products had played a large part in positioning their brands and how this in turn is helping to highlight Reefton, the region, grow tourist numbers and in so doing having a flow on effect for the town and wider economy.

Bass commented, "We intend to continue to help put Reefton on the map as a destination, highlighting its heritage nature by re-telling the rich history of our town and its people through our brand stories. We are proud to have helped to make Reefton a place to stop and to stay."

She shared how New Zealanders are actively making their way to Reefton to experience all that the distillery has to offer, concluding "We believe that we are the fastest growing craft gin brand in New Zealand, having won both national and international awards for our products. We know that we have a working formula that will help to put New Zealand on the global stage as an International producer of World Class Spirits."

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