Yeastie Boys raise a glass to crowdfunding success

Wellington brewer Yeastie Boys successfully tapped into $500,000 last night, less than 30 minutes after its equity crowdfunding campaign launched.

In December, the craft brewer said it expected to double turnover to about $1.5 million if it managed to raise the money on the PledgeMe platform.

Creative director Stu McKinlay said at the time the capital raised would be used to develop the company's production in Britain and sales across Europe.

Last night, McKinlay rang the bell for the opening of the capital raising, and within half an hour the $500,000 mark had been reached.

"It's great to be able to immediately refocus on making beer and getting it to the people who love it," McKinlay said.

"It's why we're here and why our crowd supported us."

The company sold a 12.5 per cent stake at a dollar a share, valuing it at about $4m.

McKinlay has said this would likely be the first of many funding rounds, and has not ruled out a possible initial public offering (IPO).

PledgeMe chief executive Anna Guenther said she was impressed with Yeastie Boys' efforts in putting the campaign together.

"This is a great success for a New Zealand company with big ambitions.

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"Not only do they now have the capital to expand into the UK, but they have 204 shareholders who will champion the brand."

READ MORE: Craft beer demand froths over

Yeastie Boys is based in Wellington but contract brews at various locations, producing about 100,000 litres of beer a year for turnover of about $700,000.

Last year, the company brewed a 50,000-litre batch of beer for the JD Wetherspoon's International Real Ale Festival in England, the largest festival of its kind in the world.

The brewery's Gunnamatta earl grey India Pale Ale, made with Earl Grey tea, was served in 900 pubs across England during two weeks in April, to about one million UK beer fans.

McKinlay said the $500,000 would be used to piggyback on the growing popularity of craft beer in Britain, having already tied up a Scottish brewery when they visited in February.

The first shipment from New Zealand had sold out before making it to Britain, but brewing beers there would cut 25 per cent from prices and about two months from lead times for orders.

"The basic plan is to pretty much hit the same kind of volumes and turnover that we're doing in New Zealand in the first year, pretty much doubling our output.

"If we're as successful as I think we could be in the UK then I think we'll almost certainly need more money within a year."

McKinlay, who left his job at Z Energy last year, would likely be based in Britain for six months before returning to concentrate on his and fellow director Sam Possenniskie's plans for New Zealand and Australia.

 - Dominion Post

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