Renegade’s Waterford Distillery Ltd has raised a €14.4m facility from the Ulster Bank with a £5m investment from the Business Growth Fund (BGF)
Ulster Bank has provided a €14.4m facility for Renegade, a London headquartered business which is 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 drinks industry veterans having previously acquired the disused Bruichladdich Distillery on Islay off the West Coast of Scotland in 2000. They rebuilt the distillery and brand, before selling the business to Remy Cointreau in 2012 for £58m.
The team are developing something similar in the Irish whiskey market with a core focus on quality and provenance of product. With top quality Irish barley, the purest of spring water from renowned ancient wells, a team of passionate distillers that share the vision, and the very best quality casks, the goal is to create not just the most compelling Irish whiskey, but the world’s most profound single malt.
Renegade was founded in 2014, and following the purchase of a former Guinness brewery in Waterford, phase I of the project saw the team converting it into a state-of-the-art whiskey distillery. The first whiskey ran in January 2016 and 1m litres are now maturing in the best of French and American oak barrels in new warehouses recently completed at Ballygarran.
Taking proven principles from Islay a step further, Renegade sources its barley from 46 Irish farms on 19 distinct soil types. The provenance of the barley is key, with each farmer’s crop harvested, stored, malted and distilled separately. As a result, Renegade can capture in the spirit each farm’s terroir, that subtle character shaped by micro-climate and soil.
Phase II of Renegade’s project involves a €14.4m facility from Ulster Bank, in conjunction with a £5m minority stake investment from BGF to continue to grow the maturing stocks at a rate of 1m litres per year up to first bottling.
Mark Reynier, CEO of Renegade, added: “It helps that Ulster bank’s parent RBS has extensive understanding of the whisky industry. Distilling is an expensive and long-term game at the best of times and we have a unique, highly focused and uncompromising approach.
"This facility, together with BGF’s investment, allows us to grow our maturing stocks at our scheduled rate of 1m litres a year. We considered working with BGF on Bruichladdich as their patient, minority investment approach fits well with our own growth plans so we are looking forward to working with the team.
"And it's a testament to the strength of the company, the Facilitator, people, shareholders and spirit. 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, uber premium brand with a clear proposition. We are hugely excited by what we are doing at Waterford Distillery and for the prospects ahead. Roll out those barrels!"
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. Whiskey production is a unique industry and our team has extensive sectoral experience so we have been more than happy to provide expert, meaningful help. 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. Waterford Distillery is passionate about whiskey and that passion is reflected in their landmark project, so Ulster Bank is proud to help them fulfil their ambitions and grow their business.
Andy Gregory, Regional Director at BGF said: “We have long admired the track record of Mark and the other founders of Renegade Spirits and were keen to back this credible and ambitious team. They have proven success with the Bruichladdich Distillery on Islay and are taking that experience and ambition with them to Waterford.