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Downton Abbey castle seeks funding for gin

The owners of Highclere Castle, the setting of period drama Downton Abbey, have launched a multi-million-dollar crowdfunding campaign to boost their namesake gin globally.

Downton Abbey castle
Investors in the gin could get the opportunity to stay in Highclere Castle, home to Downton Abbey

Founded in 2019, Highclere Castle Gin is made with botanicals grown on the Highclere Castle estate in Hampshire, England, the main filming location for the Downton Abbey series.

The Highclere Castle Gin project began through a partnership with George Herbert, the 8th Earl of Carnarvon, and Fiona Carnavon, the 8th Countess of Carnarvon, who both own and live in the castle, along with American spirits entrepreneur Adam von Gootkin, whose family history in spirits dates back to the 1800s.

Highclere Castle Spirits Company has teamed up with Wefunder to offer Downton Abbey fans the chance to invest in its gin.

The minimum investment is US$150 per share and the company is initially seeking US$500,000 through an early bird investment discount.

In exchange, patrons will be invited to attend cocktail masterclasses, exclusive events, and some backers may get the opportunity to stay at the estate. An invitation-only cocktail event at Highclere is also planned for September 2022 for certain tiered investors.

The funds will be used to help the brand expand internationally. According to the Wefunder page, Highclere’s goal is to own 4% of the premium gin market in the US.

The company has already raised US$5.7 million in a series A round of funding, from backers including Raj Bhatka, founder of Whistlepig whiskey and Bhatka Armagnac.

The brand is available in 25 US markets, as well as the UK, Denmark, France, Switzerland, Poland and Malta. The firm said the e-commerce channel represents 10% of its sales, with online partners in 40 US states and 27 EU countries.

The company has highlighted Canada, Central Europe, Asia, Latin America, the Caribbean and additional US states as new distribution opportunities.

More than 150,000 bottles of the gin have been sold in under two years with a market retail value of US$6m.

The gin is produced at Langley Distillery and made with 10 botanicals, including English wheat, citrus from Highclere’s Victorian era orangery and lavender grown in the estate’s walled Monk’s Garden, as well as oats.

Von Gootkin, CEO of Highclere Castle Spirits Company, said: “We are leading the way into the roaring 20s with a luxury spirit brand steeped in history, prestige, heritage and pedigree. We are excited to invite our friends and fans from around the world to play a part in Highclere’s legacy and future.”

In 2019, English distillery Harrogate Tipple created a new gin and blended whisky inspired by Downton Abbey.

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