Award-winning gin and whiskey producer has a taste for growth

Kinsale Spirit Company is looking to raise €2 million for ongoing brand and product development, expansion and entry to international markets, as well as new-make and aged whiskey

Kinsale Spirit Company’s multi award-winning range of spirits, now being exported across the world

With new distilleries continuing to spring up across the country, expect this to be a huge year for the industry,” Colin Ross, chief executive, Kinsale Spirit Company, said.

Kinsale Spirit Company first started selling gin in 2017. “Our sales are forecast to grow eightfold by 2025, with corresponding growth in Ebitda. We expect the value of the business to grow substantially over the next five years, based on the last three years’ performance and profitability forecasts for the future.”

Ross said that sales of gin and whiskey to the domestic market are forecast to grow strongly over the next five years too. “We have a lot of new export markets coming online including Africa, the Gulf Region, mainland Europe and we are winning multiple awards for our products.”

Kinsale Spirit Company has adopted a business model commensurate with the objectives of building brands and its long-term viability without the need to wait years for the maturation of its own whiskey stocks.

“By pursuing strategic supply contracts with two of Ireland’s top contract distillers, harnessing our own brands, blending and NPD skills, we have launched a range of multi-award-winning brands, paving the route to-market for our full portfolio and future own-distillery launches,” Ross said.

The company is five years in business. “I have a commercial background in the hospitality and beverage space and my two partners are both publicans and entrepreneurs,” he said.

“Tom O’Riordan had seen gin sales increase dramatically in his bars in the 2010s. He recruited his sister Clodagh, a qualified distiller, to assist and they went about foraging botanicals, sourcing exotic ingredients and after many iterations – he used to test batches on friends and family – came up with the multi award-winning recipe that is now Kinsale Gin and SummerCove Kinsale Gin.”

The key botanicals are foraged around Kinsale and they drew on Clodagh’s time living in the Middle East to include unusual ingredients such as whole black limes and white lemons from Jordan, spearmint and vanilla from further afield. The new product needed marketing support and so Ernest Cantillon, a local food and beverage entrepreneur, came on board.

As the duo started looking at wider markets for their products, they approached Colin Ross, who had export and drinks’ management experience, and asked him to join them, splitting the company between them.

There are now seven products including multi award-winning brands Kinsale and SummerCove Kinsale Gins, Red Earl Irish Whiskey, Great Earl Single Grain and Spanish Earl Single Malt Irish Whiskeys and Wild Atlantic IPA and Rechar Irish Whiskeys.

There are further whiskeys being launched in Q1 2023 and a significant number of gifting solutions and packages in the pipeline too, alongside existing hampers and “The Triumvirate” giftbox.

Irish whiskey exports to the US are approaching nearly six million nine-litre cases in 2022 and 14 million cases globally, said Ross. “Premium whiskeys are growing at more than double the rate of standard brands. We currently export to China, the US, the Gulf states, Nigeria, Germany and a number of other markets.”

“We are in the process of recruiting people in US and we have eight staff employed here in Ireland and one in Europe too.”

The company has a close relationship with Musgrave and has very solid support from a number of independent off-licences such as 1601 in Kinsale, O’Donovan’s and the Number 21 off-licence group. “We also sell online and we are working on larger commercial accounts, among them the major US off-licence chains.”

Next year they hope to build a distillery in Kinsale. “Once our planning permission comes through, we have the gin equipment ready to go and we would hope to be distilling whiskey by the fourth quarter of 2023. Our plan remains to grow our very solid base here in Ireland and the US and tap into the very real further opportunities overseas.”

“We are always looking at potential markets and plan to move into mainland Europe as well as working on states like South Carolina, Illinois and California in 2023.”

Kinsale Spirit Company is looking for €2 million in this raise for ongoing brand and product development, expansion and entry to international markets, new-make and aged whiskey as well as phases 1 and 2 of the development of the distillery in Kinsale, Co Cork.

Ross said that investors are looking at a potential upside of 109.8 per cent. “On a typical investment of €10,000, the investor is entitled to reclaim 40 per cent on their 2022 income tax return. That’s a rebate of €4,000, leaving a net investment cost of €6,000.

“We are projecting a coupon of 25.9 per cent after four years, so investing at end 2022 will see repayment early in 2027, in this example, of €12,590. That is a net return of 109.8 per cent after the €4,000 rebate has been claimed.”

For more information, contact: Kinsale Spirit Company, eiis@kinsalespirit.com, or by phone on 00353831601490