Ilen River Partners has announced the launch of the Irish Whiskey Growth Fund, the first fund established exclusively to lend to whiskey distilleries and businesses across Ireland. The fund initially has more than €10 million of capital available for whiskey stock financing loans and intends to grow as required to meet demand. It will be supported by leading international whiskey experts, who will offer key strategic and technical input to participating businesses.
Meanwhile, 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. It 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 strategic commercial advice and access to industry knowledge and expertise. Leading international whiskey experts Dr. Alan Rutherford, Dr. Gordon Steele and Jack O’Shea, are making their decades of technical and wider industry expertise available to the businesses that will benefit from the fund.
Ilen River Partners founder and managing partner Fearghal Ó Ríordáin commented, “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 Irish whiskey industry is the fastest growing spirits sector in the world. The value of Irish whiskey exports was more than €400 million in 2015, €600 million in 2017 and is forecast to be in excess of €850 million by 2020. On current and forecast growth levels, Irish whiskey exports will reach €2 billion by 2030. The sector brings significant benefits to the Irish economy. By way of comparison, exports of Scotch whisky contributed approximately €4.9 billion to the UK economy last year. As part of the lending process, the fund will provide flexible, tailored financing, strategic commercial advice and specialist industry expertise for developing and growing a whiskey business. We now look forward to engaging with whiskey businesses across the country.”
© 2018 Hospitality Ireland – your source for the latest industry news. Article by Dave Simpson. Click subscribe to sign up for the Hospitality Ireland print edition.