I see more and more distilleries opening with different ways of fundraising - understandable for such a capital intensive business - but it's something I struggle with. Let me explain. If I'm setting up a new distillery, I have a couple of options (excluding making other spirits like rum or gin). I can pre-sell casks, or I can offer a regular release to those people only bought into a founders programme. The sort of programme that promises a bottle a year for some years, events, discounts, pre-release purchase opportunities etc... Both of these are great, but who on earth buys into them before the whisky has been released? Distilleries are now popping up so frequently that there's loads of options and if it's for an investment, what are people hoping for? That they've managed to land on the next Kariuzawa and that those non-public bottles will become worth a fortune? That they're happy paying big money for young whisky (or even spirit in some cases)? I followed the opening and production of White Peak Distillery near me and I've bought quite a few bottles of theirs. Their fundraising was interesting as the founder Max has an MBA and comes from a business background. Their cask sales were massively more popular than anticipated, they have a wall of early supporters and even ended selling equity in the distillery through an online investment platform. However I want to taste the whisky before I put money into a programme like that, otherwise why would I want to be stuck with bottles I don't like? I'm fans of theirs now, and while a cask is outside my means, it does means I can't support them as I would like as I didn't want to take the gamble. Are early buy in programmes a gamble? An investment? A chance for some fun? Would the lack of well known figures involved (I'm thinking Jim McEwan at the Bruichladdich rebirth, or Dave Pickerell at Whistlepig) be a draw or make no difference to your wish to buy in early?

Posted by Chris Ratcliff at 2023-03-17 14:48:36 UTC