Bolstered by the Australian ‘gin revolution’ and constant offers to invest, West Winds Gin has kick-started a crowd-funding campaign to allow fans to literally put their money where their mouth is.
Based in Western Australia, West Winds began in 2010, the product of the entrepreneurial curiosity of founder and chief executive, Paul White. The qualified engineer was inspired to learn how to build a distillery, even travelling to the US to study the art of making spirits.
The company began with seed capital of less than $2 million, raised predominantly from friends and family, but crowd-funding was always a consideration, recently made possible by new legislation in Australia late last year.
Since releasing its first product in 2011, growth has been fairly organic as the brand made inroads in the marketplace. Year one saw around 5,000 bottles sold. This year will see more than 100,000 sold throughout Australia, as well as exported to Canada, Britain, France, Singapore, the United Arab Emirates, Japan, China and Malaysia.
Having reached the stage where more working capital is needed to fund marketing and develop inventory, the campaign has begun to offer punters a taste of the action.
West Winds distiller, media liaison and ‘ships evaporator’ Mitch “Rummy” Keane, told PubTIC their place on the backbar in bars and pubs is growing, and the time is right.
“We have noticed huge interest in Australian spirits in recent years, and it is reflected in Australian hospitality. Since the ‘Aussie Gin boom’ we’ve had the opportunity to step in the rail and become the house pour at a number of venues nationally.”
The company has plans to further strengthen its presence in Australia, but will definitely be “significantly increasing” its focus on overseas too, particularly the lucrative US market.
“There is a huge opportunity for Australian gins overseas, as we have access to a broad range of flavour ingredients that are not available anywhere else in the world,” notes Keane.
The crowd-funding began around a week ago, seeking a minimum of $500k, up to $3.5 million, with punters able to buy in for as little as $500.
To date $594k has been pledged, meaning plans will progress. First up, there will be a West Winds Bar within the Leaderville Hotel, opening June. This will showcase products and run industry and consumer events. There may also be a pilot distillery for tinkering with new lines.
The West Winds Gin crowd-equity campaign is available HERE, closing 16 July.
*A Ships Evaporator was the name for the operator of the distilling apparatus on early sailing ships that on long voyages would turn seawater into something the men could drink (water).