The Business Growth Fund, BGF, has invested £5 million of long-term funding in drinks start-up Renegade to help it develop a new whiskey distillery in the Republic of Ireland.
Renegade, which was founded in 2014, has already bought a former Guinness brewery in Waterford and converted into a distillery, where it currently has 1 million litres of single malt whiskey maturing in oak barrels.
The BGF investment, together with a 14.4 million euro facility from Ulster Bank, will be used to distil these maturing stocks at a rate of 1 million litres a year.
Renegade was founded by Mark Renier, Sir John MacTaggart and John Adams, who 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 £58 million.
BGF is taking a minority stake in Renegade and will have a stake on the board. The funding is BGF’s first investment into a company with core operations in the Republic of Ireland.
Mark Reynier, one of the founders of Renegade said: “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. 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 founds 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.”
BGF has invested £1.2 billion to date in more than 175 companies and in 2016 was the UK’s most active investor, investing £387 million in UK small and medium sized businesses.