Have you ever woken up one morning and thought to yourself that you really should start a distillery but then realised it just sounded like a whole lot of work? Well, you’re probably not alone.
But how about if you could wake up one morning and know that you owned a share in a distillery, would that seem more manageable?
Well, now you can.
The West Winds Gin, from the Margaret River area of Western Australia, have just launched an equity crowdfunding campaign to raise capital to accelerate their growth.
Now you’ve probably heard of distilleries launching with crowdfunding before. After all Poor Tom’s Gin did it back in 2015, raising over $69,000 and Manly Spirits Co did it in 2017 and raised around $30,000, to name a few.
What the West Wind is doing is a bit different. Sure they are reaching out to the fans and potential new fans of the brand to raise their capital but instead of listing bottles of Gin or personalised events as their offerings, they are offering equity in the brand.
The West Winds Gin offer was open to a select few investors last week and went live to the public on the Equitise platform yesterday. The company are looking for a minimum of $500,000, with their maximum goal being $3.5 million. According to the funding page, the business has so far raised $534,000 with 63 days left to invest.
Punters can buy a piece of the business for a minimum investment of $500.
So what exactly is the Equity Crowdfunding
Basically, Equity Crowdfunding has been a system of raising capital that has been used quite extensively overseas but is relatively new to Australia. It was only in January this year that ASIC provided licenses to a small select number of companies to run crowd-sourced equity funding platforms.
Equity Crowdfunding is a mechanism that enables broad groups of investors to fund startup companies and small businesses in return for equity. Investors give money to a business and receive ownership of a small piece of that business.
If the business succeeds, then its value goes up, as well as the value of a share in that business. But if it fails, then the money invested could be lost.
The idea is that everyone has the opportunity to invest in the brands they love.
investing in an early-stage business is a medium-term investment.
Setting Sail For the Future
Now unlike a lot of businesses that are looking at Equity Crowdfunding as a source of capital, The West Winds is not a start-up. The company have been going since 2011, offering premium and super-premium artisanal gins that combine traditional gin flavours with uniquely Australian botanicals. Their core Gins incorporate Wattle Seed, Bush Tomato, Sea Parsley, Lemon Myrtle, Cinnamon Myrtle, fresh Lemon peel, fresh Lime peel and fresh Coriander.
At present, the company has three award-winning Gin’s on offer – The Sabre, The Cutless and The Broadside.
West Winds chief executive Paul White told SmartCompany the he believes that The West Wind is a perfect candidate for an equity crowdfunding campaign, because so many punters are keen to own a piece of the alcohol brands they consume.
“We were getting queries from people all the time, asking, ‘how do we invest?’,” he says.
“The appeal of [equity crowdfunding] is that it’s a great way to broaden the base of people on the journey with us.”
The brand will use the capital raised to further invest in its sales, marketing and distribution division. At present the brand is sold throughout Australia as well as into Canada, the UK, France, Singapore, the United Arab Emirates, Japan, China and Malaysia. but they but want to accelerate further growth.
White told The West Australian “We’ve had huge success early on and now we’re ready to get West Winds even more notoriety in the space by investing in brand building and recognition in Australia and export markets.”
Whites goes on to say that the brand wants to increase our marketing exposure, with plans in the works to expand into markets like the US, as well as strengthen their position in markets like the United Kingdom and selected regions in South-East Asia.