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New distillery seeks entrepreneurial spirit

A new distillery, whose founders want to make England’s West Country one of the most recognised names in fine whisky, is seeking GBP2.75 million in SEIS/EIS funding.

The Dorset County Distilling Company is looking for backing to complete construction and begin production at its Springhead Distillery in the picturesque Blackmore Vale. Successful entrepreneur Hutch Wright and his son Alex, an experienced chef and brewer, established the business in response to the growing appetite for “craft” spirits.
Wright Snr says: “The trends that have transformed the beer, wine and gin markets during the past decade or so are increasingly shaping the world of whisky. With beer in particular there’s now a very strong public perception that quality is most likely to be found in products that come from small, independent, ‘craft’ producers. All the evidence suggests the same outlook is being applied to spirits, with craft products steadily encroaching on territory that was once dominated by multinationals. So we see this as a great opportunity to enter a market that has enormous growth potential – and we want other entrepreneurs to join us in seizing that opportunity.”
Overseen by leading tax-efficient platform GrowthInvest, the fundraising offers a minimum investment of GBP2,500. GrowthInvest managing director Daniel Rodwell says: “We’re delighted to have the Dorset County Distilling Company join us on our platform.
“The company has a clearly defined strategy on how to enter the booming UK drinks industry, and we expect it will prove an attractive investment to both experienced and hobbyist investors alike. This is exactly the sort of ambitious British company we need to encourage, and, through SEIS and EIS, the government is effectively sharing part of the risk with investors.”
Wright Snr believes backers could double their money in around five years. He says: “One of our key business objectives is to see our brands universally recognised and associated with quality and authenticity within the next half-decade. “In time we want our whisky to be renowned for its Dorset heritage, just as Speyside Scotches and Kentucky Bourbons are known for their own distinctive qualities.”
The company – which will also produce rum, vodka, gin and other eaux de vie – will source all ingredients from within a 50-mile radius and aim to “paint a picture of Englishness”.
Unconstrained by the rules that govern the production of Scotch, it will have more freedom to experiment with recipes, production methods and cask finishes.
A new distillery’s first-ever product – an unusually young release often known as “founder’s spirit” – is itself widely seen as an appreciating investment in the current market.
Wright Jnr, a former chef who turned to distilling and brewing after attending a whisky-tasting event in the US, said: “Whisky is perfectly geared to long-term investment. This is one of the few manufacturing businesses where the stored product not only improves with age but increases in value year after year – and always has a ready buyer.”

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