BGF has provided £5m of long-term funding to Renegade, a London headquartered business developing a major whiskey project on Ireland’s south-eastern coast. The funding will be used for continued development and production of single malt whiskey at Renegade’s Waterford distillery in Ireland.
Renegade’s founders – Mark Reynier, Sir John Mactaggart and John Adams – are veterans of the drinks industry having previously acquired the disused Bruichladdich Distillery on Islay off the West Coast of Scotland in 2002. They rebuilt the distillery and brand, before selling the business to Remy Cointreau in 2012 for £58m.
The team are looking to develop something similar in the Irish whiskey market.
Renegade was founded in 2014, and following the purchase of a former Guinness brewery in Waterford, phase 1 of the project saw the team converting it into a state-of-the-art whiskey distillery. Renegade sources its barley from 46 Irish farms on 19 distinct soil types. The first whiskey ran in January 2016 and 1m litres are now maturing in French and American oak barrels.
Phase 2 of Renegade’s project involves BGF’s £5m investment, in conjunction with a €14.4m facility from Ulster Bank, to distil maturing stocks at a rate of 1m litres per year.
This represents BGF’s first investment into a company with its core operations in the Republic of Ireland. BGF is taking a minority stake and will have a seat on the board.
Mark Reynier of Renegade added: “We have known about BGF and their ability to provide long-term capital to growing teams for some time.
“Their patient, minority investment approach fits well with our own growth plans and we are looking forward to working with the team. With over 110 distilleries, the Scotch whisky market is 10 times the size of the Irish market. The market is clearly attractive for a new, high quality brand with a clear proposition. We are hugely excited by what we are doing at Waterford Distillery and for the prospects ahead.”
Andy Gregory, Regional Director at BGF, said: “We have long admired the track record of Mark and the other founders of Renegade Spirits. They have proven success with the Bruichladdich Distillery on Islay and are taking that experience and ambition with them to Waterford.
Ulster Bank’s Managing Director of Commercial Banking, Eddie Cullen said: “We’re delighted to support Renegade’s Waterford Distillery Ltd. with this €14.4m credit facility. Ulster Bank increased lending to business customers by 19% in 2016 and we are committed to continuing this support for businesses in Ireland in 2017.”