A €10m fund has been launched aimed at the Irish whiskey market, supported by a number of leading international whiskey experts including Dr. Alan Rutherford, Dr. Gordon Steele and Jack O’Shea.
The Irish Whiskey Growth Fund was launched by Ilen River Partners, itself formed to provide sector specific capital to companies at each stage of their development. Ilen River is led by founder and Managing Partner, Fearghal Ó Ríordáin, with Triona Hourihane as co-founder and Principal.
Whiskey businesses need to lay down stock early in their development in order to scale. However, given the long term nature of the whiskey sales cycle, the businesses require financing solutions suited to a long time horizon to achieve scale.
It's the first fund established exclusively to lend to whiskey distilleries and businesses across Ireland, and intends to grow as required to meet demand.
Support from the Ireland Strategic Investment Fund (ISIF) allows the fund to provide a financing product which is specific to the needs of growth stage whiskey businesses, and which they cannot currently obtain from other market sources.
The fund will provide stock-financing loans secured on borrowers’ existing whiskey stock, and tailored to the specific needs of participating businesses. With this access to growth capital, complementing existing sources of equity finance, business owners will be able to focus their efforts on producing quality whiskey and achieving scale. The fund will not seek to appoint directors, and borrowers will remain managed and controlled by their founders or existing management and shareholders.
The fund will also support distilleries by providing commercial advice and access to industry knowledge and expertise.
Fearghal Ó Ríordáin said: “Whiskey distilleries are playing an ever more vital role within the Irish economy. There were just two whiskey distilleries on the island in the early 1980s. There are now 18 distilleries in operation, with more distilleries in the pipeline, all contributing to Irish tourism, agriculture, trade and exports.”
The Fund is open for business and further details can be found at www.ilenriverpartners.ie/funds.