Cider maker Zeffer crowdfunds for move to Hawke's Bay

Zeffer cider is exported to nine countries.
SUPPLIED

Zeffer cider is exported to nine countries.

A Kiwi cider producer is hoping to raise $1.2 million to  fund its move to Hawke's Bay — where the heart of its produce comes from.

Zeffer launched a crowdfunding campaign on Wednesday, marking the beginning of its hope to become a global brand.

The company wants to move to Hawke's Bay to save more than $200,000 a year it spends on delivering freshly crushed apples to Auckland.

On top of that, the company wants to focus on two key export markets - China and Thailand.

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Most of the company's export growth is expected to come from China, says Josh Townsend.
SUPPLIED

Most of the company's export growth is expected to come from China, says Josh Townsend.

If the campaign is successful, new shareholders will own 21 per cent of the company.

Zeffer has 30 days to attract the investment. In just over 24 hours, 118 investors had pledged more than $600,000.

Zeffer sales and marketing director Josh Townsend said cider was one of the fastest growing alcohol categories in the world, so the company had decided to focus on two key export markets.

The Zeffer cider team: Josh Townsend, left, Sam Whitmore, Hannah Bower, and Greg Small.
SUPPLIED

The Zeffer cider team: Josh Townsend, left, Sam Whitmore, Hannah Bower, and Greg Small.

"Mainstream beer brands have stalled in recent years as consumers have become more educated and demanding of more premium or craft beers. We believe the same trend towards premiumisation will emerge for cider.

"Whilst cider is still a relatively new concept for China and Thailand, we've noticed its now really starting to take off," Townsend said.

"Given their respective free trade agreements, climates, burgeoning middle class and their demand for craft beverage now booming, it presents massive opportunities for us to capitalise on."

Zeffer had teamed up with a "really good" Asian distributor, which would help them tackle the markets they want, he said.

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The Zeffer team would head to China and Thailand next month to train local sales teams and appoint three reps, Townsend said.

"We will continue to sell in and explore other international markets as opportunities arise, such as Singapore, but we anticipate the bulk of our export growth over the next two years will come from China."

Zeffer began in 2009, when its cider was being sold in small batches at the Matakana Farmers Market.

Since then, it had grown to become the largest independent cider company in the country, Townsend said.

The company produces more than 300,000 litres of cider every year, which is the equivalent of about 1000 bottles a day. Its cider is exported to nine countries, as well as being sold in New Zealand.

New Zealand would still remain a focus and would become a test market for new products before they were exported, he said.

"Our long-term goal is to grow Zeffer to 10 per cent of the total New Zealand market share in off-premise cider sales, from approximately 1 per cent — 2 per cent currently.

 - Stuff

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