Old Young’s Distillery has become equity crowdfunding’ biggest West Australian raise ever, the biggest raise in Australia this financial year and the biggest alcohol raise ever in Australia.
Its Birchal Equity Crowdfunding raise went live for people who registered their EOI at 9am on March 7 (Perth time). All shares were exhausted before the share offer was made available to the public. The company is valued at $32.5 million and a little less than 10% of the business went up for grabs.
The distiller was also the fastest to $2million in Western Australia, reaching the target after six hours and 45 minutes. Its $2.7 million target was achieved after 23 hours.
The news follows the Swan Valley distillery winning two of the world’s most coveted gin awards on February 24, with online sales for the brand spiking by 560% when the news was announced.
‘Expressions of interest’ in its Birchal equity crowdfunding raise almost doubled from 1722 to 3303, with an average EOI investment amount of $3633, which is almost 3 x the average Birchal figure of $1300. According to Birchal, having EOI enquiries spike so dramatically in the back half of the campaign is almost unheard of, especially when an average campaign gets only 800 enquiries.
“Winning Craft Producer of the Year and Brand Innovator of the Year at The Icons of Gin competition in London was a definite career highlight, but to win it midway through a capital raise is biblical – I swear someone is looking after me above,” said James Young of Old Young’s Distillery.
“Setting all these records is icing on the cake of an already spectacular month. This is the first time an Australian distillery has ever won Craft Producer of the Year, and only the second time an Australian gin producer has won Brand Innovator of the year – Four Pillars winning the category in 2022.”
Birchal CEO Matt Vitale said: “Craft breweries have a history of performing very well on Birchal, and that’s because their fans are fiercely loyal and want their favourite beer to flourish. The runaway success of craft distiller Old Youngs not only continues this trend but has taken it up a notch – it’s the biggest alcohol raise Australia has ever seen!
“James Young and his team ran a textbook crowdfunding campaign – the integration of investor communications, PR, social media marketing, an entertaining and informative investor video, and investor webinars, kept potential shareholders engaged from beginning to end. And now they’ve set all these amazing records – they should be really proud!”
The share offer follows Old Young’s achieving an average growth of 90% per annum over the last six years ($5.3 million revenue in 2022 with 71,835 bottles filled, and $14.9M turnover since launch – that’s 270,000 bottles filled). The money raised will be used to employ an east coast sales team to help infiltrate leading bars and bottle shops, as well as building international export markets. Old Young’s will also triple production capacity by bringing online a 500L next generation still, as well as an automatic bottling line that can handle over 250,000 bottles per year.
“Central to winning Craft Producer of the Year is our signature gin, Old Young’s 1829,” said Young.
“The gin’s base is Tuscan juniper berries, with the Swan Valley and surrounds offering some of the finest botanicals I’ve seen. Winning Brand Innovator of the year is equally important – when the pandemic hit, I decided to launch Australia’s most unique gin subscription service, The Juniper Society. It’s like Netflix – but gin! Each month you get a brand new, never to be repeated gin delivered to your door for $59! We’ve released 30 editions so far, and these allow my creative side to run wild!”
The money raised will be targeted to help supercharge The Juniper Society’s database of paying members up to 10,000 gin lovers per month. This alone will have a huge impact on the company’s bottom line. And finally, Young is planning to build a monumental building in the Swan Valley he describes as a ‘Cathedral of Gin’. He is already working with some of the Australia’s and the world’s top architectural firms, whose designs will compete to win the project.
His other gin project that’s on the boil is Gingin Gin, a modern classic gin with ingredients sourced from the Western Australian town, Gingin. The gin is made using the finest sourced ingredients from Gingin’s abundant food bowl, as well as botanicals from the Mediterranean and exotics from the Far East.
He also has plans for RTD’s, bottled cocktails, a non-alc product, brown spirit production, a new tasting room experience and a brand refresh.
“The huge level of support we’ve received is incredibly gratifying,” said Young. “I’ve been speaking to investors throughout this process and so many of them have followed us right back to when we launched in 2016! To raise this amount of money in such a short time in tricky economic times is a testament to the creativity and passion we bring to work every day. I’m so excited for our plans and to have 855 new investors to share that ride with!”