PledgeMe funding for whisky

Photo: Supplied
Photo: Supplied
The New Zealand Whisky Company is going to crowdfunding company PledgeMe, seeking to raise up to $2 million towards redevelopment of Oamaru's former Northern Hotel, including as a bonded store.

The Whisky Company initially bought 443 barrels, or 80,000 litres, of whisky in October 2010, which came from the former Wilsons distillery in Willowbank, Dunedin.

Using the name The NZ Whisky Collection for the PledgeMe fundraising, general manager Grant Finn said ''the stills are on the water'', and due to arrive next month.

''We plan to have our first production before Christmas,'' he said.

Founder of the The New Zealand Whisky Company Greg Ramsay, contacted in Tasmania yesterday, said the company had for the past eight years been working on creating a sustainable business and was confident Otago was ''the perfect place to do it''.

Mr Ramsay had estimated in the past a distillery and warehousing would likely cost about $3 million.

Yesterday, he said eight years of profits had been used to buy two large copper stills from China, which he believed were the largest in the country for distilling single malt whisky.

He expected them to be cleared by Customs by early November.

''Investors [from PledgeMe] will be buying into the production,'' he said.

He said potential PledgeMe investors should not have expectations of getting dividends, but if the company prospered in the future there was the potential for capital gain ''on exit'', should the company be bought out by a large corporate distiller or brewer.

The gains ''on exit'' would be applicable to all three tiers of shareholding on offer, he said.

The offer opens on PledgeMe from October 26 until November 25, or earlier, if fully subscribed.

Mr Finn said the company had developed a PledgeMe offer which allowed different levels of investment, so as many people as possible can be part of the new company.

PledgeMe's website notes equity crowd funding was ''very speculative'' and ''carries high risks'', and independent financial advice should be sought.

The company is releasing more details next week on the crowdfunding at events in Queenstown, Dunedin and Oamaru, spread from Tuesday through to Thursday.

Mr Ramsay said 103 of the original 443 barrels from the former Wilsons distillery were left.

''These [433 original] barrels were just lying around waiting for whisky aficionados to recognise their worth,'' Mr Ramsay said.

However, for the past four years The New Zealand Whisky Company had been working with production partners and had amassed more than 100 new barrels, or about 10,000 litres of whisky.

Mr Ramsay said some of the 103 original barrels would soon be rebranded with a Wilsons theme.

He could give no further details of the distillery operation at present, as negotiations were still under way with several parties, but confirmed all whisky production would be matured in Oamaru, alongside its Cellar Door outlet.

''We'd expect to fill up a gymnasium [space] in the first year,'' Mr Ramsay said.

Funds raised through PledgeMe would be used for commissioning a new distillery and development of Oamaru's former Northern Hotel site, for a whisky bond store and cellar door tasting experience, he said.

There are eight licensed crowdfunding operators, formally known as peer-to-peer lending providers, the best known being ChangeFund, Harmoney, PledgeMe, Squirrel Money and LendMe.

Companies could raise up to $2 million in any 12-month period without having to issue a product disclosure statement and must undertake the issue through one of the licensed crowdfunding services.

By using a licensed service, companies could rely on an exemption to the Financial Markets Act, meaning they did not need to supply would-be investors with a product disclosure statement.

Add a Comment