Mark Reynier’s Waterford Distillery has raised €20 million (US$21.4m) from investors to aid its development and production of single malt Irish whiskey.
Waterford Distillery has received substantial investment backing
Ulster Bank has provided €14.4m (US$15.4m) with a £5m (US$6.4m) investment from the Business Growth Fund (BGF).
The distillery is based at the Waterford Brewery, formally used by Diageo to make Guinness, and is operated under Reynier’s company, Renegade Spirits, which he set up with Sir John Mactaggart and John Adams in 2014.
Reynier is the former managing director of Scotland’s Bruichladdich distillery and now aims to make the “most profound single malt” in the whisk(e)y industry.
The first whiskey distillation at Waterford ran in January 2016 and one million litres are now maturing in French and American oak barrels in new warehouses that have been recently completed at Ballygarran.
The distillery sources its barley from 46 Irish farms on 19 distinct soil types. The distillery has a key focus on provenance and traceability, with each farmer’s crop harvested, stored, malted and distilled separately. As a result, Waterford’s whiskey will have the “subtle” character shaped by micro-climate and soil.
This recent investment will help the distillery continue to grow the maturing stocks at a rate of one million litres per year up to first bottling.
“Distilling is an expensive and long-term game at the best of times and we have a unique, highly focused and uncompromising approach,” said Reynier. “This facility, together with BGF’s investment, allows us to grow our maturing stocks at our scheduled rate of one million litres a year.
“We considered working with BGF on Bruichladdich as their patient, minority investment approach fits well with our own growth plans so we are looking forward to working with the team. And it’s a testament to the strength of the company, the facilitator, people, shareholders and spirit.
“With over 110 distilleries, the Scotch whisky market is 10 times the size of the Irish market. The market is clearly attractive for a new, uber premium brand with a clear proposition. We are hugely excited by what we are doing at Waterford Distillery and for the prospects ahead.”