Crowd-brewing follows tank funding success

Brewing head
brewer Andy
Deuchars is
pleased to
finally have

Renaissance Brewing head brewer Andy Deuchars is pleased to finally have proper brewing tanks.

Two new 4000-litre brewing tanks have touched down at Renaissance Brewing in Blenheim, thanks to the success of their equity crowdfunding venture.

The tanks, which cost about $10,200 each, were installed last Monday.

Renaissance Brewing development manager Roger Kerrison said they were much-anticipated replacements for the brewery.

"The old ones were modified wine tanks that were probably built in the 1970s. They owed no-one anything."

In August, Renaissance Brewing successfully raised $700,000 through equity crowdfunding platform, Snowball Effect.

The platform aims to help New Zealand businesses by raising growth capital through sales of very small share lots to many people.

Renaissance Brewing went live on August 13 with the offer of 350,000 shares, or 12.28 per cent of the company, and within one week reached its goal.

There were 301 people who invested in the company, most from outside the Blenheim area, and many from Auckland.

Kerrison said to celebrate their first purchase, they held a virtual "crowd-brew" last Tuesday.

The virtual "crowd-brew" involved their investors tuning into a live stream on You Tube, where they could help the Renaissance brewers decide what to put into new beers.

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"Basically the concept was to get the crowd - the people who paid for the tanks - involved and decide what goes in [the new beers] . . . we wanted to engage them in the company."

Kerrison thinks they were the first company in the world to have a "crowd-brewed beer", he said.

The beer was brewed in one of their new tanks.

Next on the list, was a new keg washer and a "bigger and better" bottling line, which were due to arrive soon, he said.

The company also planned to use the investment to venture into more overseas markets, Kerrison said.

Renaissance exports to eight countries and hoped to break into the Scandinavian, Japanese, and UK markets, he said.

Kerrison had already managed to secure three new markets after a recent trip overseas, he said.

"It's looking very, very promising for ourselves and New Zealand craft beer."

When asked whether they planned to expand the brewery and move sites, Kerrison said it was still a work in progress.

Looking back on the decision to be the first company to attempt to raise capital through equity crowdfunding, Kerrison said it had been a great success.

"It's been fantastic. It was the cash injection we needed to go to the next level and it's enabling us to do things we, unfortunately, didn't have the money for," he said

"[The funds] are enabling us to up the quality assurance of our beers, and that's the focus of the new tanks and the bottling line."

The company was forecasting turnover to double to $3 million by 2017, he said.

 - The Marlborough Express


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