The West Coast has been the focus of two lots of good news from the Beehive in the past 24 hours or so.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Associate Health Minister Peeni Henare officially opened Te Nikau Hospital and Health Centre in Greymouth and then turned the first sod at the Buller Health Centre site in Westport.
Meanwhile we learned the Reefton Distilling Company had been granted a loan of almost $1 million from the Provincial Growth Fund.
The loan was one of three newly announced spending and/or lending decisions:
- Climate Change Minister James Shaw has allocated $50 million from the Clean Powered Public Service Fund to replace, or convert, coal boilers in schools with clean energy alternatives. He has named 18 schools in the latest batch to benefit from this funding.
- The Reefton Distilling Co will receive a $928,000 Provincial Growth Fund loan to help move its distillery to bigger premises and buy the equipment it needs to expand operations.
- Te Komanga Marae Trust has received more than $1.54 million to restore and enhance the native flora on the Kōwhairoa Peninsula Historic Reserve at the entrance of Whangaroa Harbour.
Being fond of a good gin, the team at Point of Order has kept on eye on the West Coast distillery since late in 2017 when we read:
A new business is looking to turn pure West Coast rainwater into gin, liqueurs and eventually whisky.
Reefton Distilling Co. will open its doors next year in the West Coast town that shares its name, co-founders Patsy Bass and Sean Whitaker said.
Six people would be employed, including the co-founders, in the first 12 months of operations.
In February 2018 the news was that Reefton Distilling Co had passed the minimum target for its current capital raising and co-founder Patsy Bass hoped it would hit $1.5m by the time it closed later that month.
An update earlier this year was headed Reefton Distilling Co reaches $2m investment target
A West Coast distillery has raised more than $2 million to expand its Little Biddy Gin operation.
Reefton Distilling Co reached its first target of $2m within two weeks of releasing its public investment offer.
The company opened in October 2018 and scooped six awards in its first six months.
Founder and managing director Patsy Bass said securing the minimum $2m of equity investment now provided the company with access to several debt financing options to expand the business and build new premises.
At that time the company had applied to Development West Coast for $1.85m of commercial finance to fund land, buildings and fit out costs.
The business had quickly outgrown its current space and had new premises under contract, with due diligence nearing completion.
According to the report which advised us of these developments:
Bass said the new site would allow Reefton Distilling Co to employ up to 50 people and expand its range of products, including its much-awaited Moonlight Creek Whisky.
And now the government is in for a dram or two of the action.
Rural Communities Minister Damien O’Connor and Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones have announced the company will receive a $928,000 Provincial Growth Fund loan to help move its distillery to larger premises and buy the equipment it needs to expand operations.
Shane Jones said the craft distillery was growing rapidly.
“The distilling company began operating only two years ago but it is already proving hugely successful, so much so that it has outgrown its existing premises.
“Demand for the distillery’s international award-winning products is increasing and the $1.86 million expansion project will allow it to keep up with that demand, grow production and host more tourists,” Shane Jones said.
O’Connor said the relocation and fitout of the distillery would provide local construction jobs and significant spending in the region. Construction work is expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2021.
“The expansion has created another seven to eight fulltime jobs, with more expected to be created in early 2021, in addition to existing fulltime permanent staff and casual workers.”
The new development will also provide education and training opportunities for youth through part-time employment, work experience and internship programmes.
Oh – and let’s not forget the environmental benefits.
Shane Jones said the Reefton Distilling Co was also increasing its environmental sustainability.
“The distillery is already working with the Department of Conservation to grow its sustainable use of native botanicals to flavour spirits, as well as collecting rainwater, considering solar energy and using a bio-mass boiler to power its stills.”
The gin business is booming, of course, and we are sure the 50 or so other distillers will be heartened to know where to go if they need a financial tonic.
Once upon a time the stuff they are producing was known as Mother’s Ruin, although we are sure all of the Kiwi products are of a hugely superior quality. We are willing to put this confidence to a taste test and are contemplating an application to the PGF for the money we would need to conduct the first Point of Order quality trial.
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