Distiller Granddad Jack’s orders tall glass of crowdfunding to top up exports

Distiller Granddad Jack’s orders tall glass of crowdfunding to top up exports

Granddad Jack's founder Luke Ridden

Gold Coast-based craft distillery Granddad Jack's has this week launched an equity crowdfunding campaign to raise up to $2 million after being shortlisted for a prestigious international spirits award, giving the company impetus to ramp up its export arm.

Granddad Jack's founder Luke Ridden hopes to emulate the global success of another Australian distiller, Yarra -based Four Pillars, which received accolades at the International Wine and Spirits Competition (IWSC) in 2019 and 2020.

The spirit maker, founded by Ridden and named after his great grandfather Jack, was established in 2018 with an initial focus on whiskey - his favourite spirit. But it is the company's gin that has the attention of the IWSC; the product is one of four gins globally to land on the shortlist.

Even if the distiller doesn't win in late-September, Granddad Jack's will be using proceeds from the Birchal-facilitated raise to bolster its manufacturing capabilities and build a third physical outlet for the company's spirits which range from gins to vodka and liqueurs. 

“There’s a huge amount of potential when you win something like that. It’s from one of the world’s oldest spirits awards companies, so it’s really highly regarded and quite special,” said Ridden - a finalist in the upcoming 2022 Gold Coast Young Entrepreneur Awards.

“If we’re lucky enough to win that award in September, it’s a huge global confirmation of our techniques, quality and standards.

“The three previous winners of the Award, they export to almost every country in the world. We just didn’t want to be on the back foot and not be able to support such fast growth.”

Granddad Jack's lineup of 'core' spirits
Granddad Jack's lineup of 'core' spirits

 

In just its first day of being live, the crowdfunding campaign has attracted 75 unique investors and raised more than $180,000. With 15 days to go, the company is aiming to hit the minimum target of $700,000 and has a roof of $2 million.

Ridden says the funds will support the distillery’s export segment, which is already quite busy shipping craft spirits and liquors to markets including New Zealand, Norway, Singapore and the west coast of the United States.

“Part of that is trying to create some efficiencies at our location in Miami (Gold Coast) - make production slightly better, not so much equipment-wise but just layout and add some more space for staff with a little bit of a build onto the building,” Ridden said.

“Also, we want to open up our first concept store, which would be a Granddad Jack’s bar. It will only serve our own products, we’d still have the same ethos and the same highly-trained, passionate people working behind the bar, but to have that in other locations as a test for something that could potentially help showcase our brand in those export markets.”

In addition, Ridden is keen on opening a third site in Australia, building on Granddad Jack’s existing distillery and tasting rooms in Brisbane and the Gold Coast.

“Currently, both our sites are working distilleries. They have production, they have a warehouse and they have the tasting rooms,” Ridden said.

“This one will be more of a smaller style with a smaller footprint, and really in-depth on the story of Granddad Jack’s - showcasing the cocktails and telling our brand’s story.”

Granddad Jack's Gold Coast tasting room and distillery
Granddad Jack's Gold Coast tasting room and distillery

 

Whether or not the distillery is successful at the IWSC, Ridden said he was sure his great grandfather would be proud of what he’s done with the company.

“He’d be like ‘you guys have fluked this’,” joked Ridden.

“He was a hard old bloke, but he was my hero, he was my father’s hero, and he’s just one of those characters.

“I think everyone’s got a Jack in their family.”

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