In their second community share offer with Crowdfunder.co.uk, GlenWyvis Distillery are now edging towards a staggering £3.5m raised from both local and global supporters looking to not only part-own the Scotland-based distillery, but to also be part of something truly historic.
Dingwall has remained one of Scotland’s most historic whisky distilling towns since 1690; that is until 90 years ago when the last of the town’s original distilleries closed its doors. However, in 2015, things were set to change as local entrepreneur, John McKenzie, decided to turn his dream of resurrecting the town’s craft whisky heritage into a reality with Crowdfunder.co.uk. This time however, whisky production would make a comeback with a difference as McKenzie set out to fire things up at the world’s first community-owned plant, GlenWyvis.
Their first community share offer with Crowdfunder.co.uk attracted high-profile support from all over the world. In just eight weeks, £1m had flooded in via the crowdfunding platform to build a new distillery, complete with hydro power and a community-owned wind turbine. By the time the crowdfund came to a close, over 2,400 investors from 30 different countries had bought shares in the GlenWyvis Community Benefit Society, pledging more than £2.5m to build the state-of-the-art, green energy and local barley powered plant. From the get go, John and other key people from the community wanted a high level of local ownership for GlenWyvis, so shares were offered to supporters living in the surrounding ‘IV’ postcode areas for just £250. Of the first £2.5m raised, over 60% came from the local area.
The groundbreaking and ambitious scheme resulted in the people of Dingwall not only raising a glass to the £2.5 million community investment, but also toasting the fact that it had become the biggest and largest crowdfunding project of its kind in the UK. Its unprecedented success means that GlenWyvis takes a spot in the top 30 crowdfunded share offers in the world!
John McKenzie, Founder and Managing Director of GlenWyvis Distillery, said, “The combination of our marketing campaign linking in with huge history, passion and a great name meant that we knew we had something big. We needed Crowdfunder and their vast knowledge to bring it all together – the result was astounding!”
Following the incredible success of their first community share offer, GlenWyvis has continued to receive high demand for investment opportunities, and with the hope to accelerate their brand development plans and reduce commercial borrowing, they opened up the offer for investment once again; most recently turning off investment on their own platform and instead channeling it all through Crowdfunder.co.uk.
McKenzie added, “We had always planned the second share offer and felt that now, with momentum behind us and Crowdfunder’s great reach, was the right time. The targets identified of gin production on site, new branding and finally reduced lending has seen not only new investors but additional backing from our original members.”
With construction of the distillery now well underway and the detailed costs more clearly established, the second Open Share Offer has opened the door to a brand new audience, offering the opportunity to support the continued development of GlenWyvis Distillery and the local community of Dingwall.
Simon Walker, Heads of Campaigns at Crowdfunder, said, “The story of GlenWyvis has been truly historic and it’s been incredible to witness the impact that a community can have when they decide to step in and turn things around. It’s needless to say that their decision to run a community share offer has ensured that the future for Dingwall and local whiskey production looks bright, and I for one can’t wait to see what’s next.”
Thanks to the crowd’s backing, GlenWyvis has been able to create new jobs, attract tourists to the area and, of course, put Dingwall on the world whisky map once again with initial whisky production set to run at 30,000 litres a year (but with the potential of rising to 200,000 litres!).
GlenWyvis stands as a pioneering example of the way that a community share offer can simultaneously unite and raise investment from the very people which an enterprise intends to benefit. Their story demonstrates the boundless potential that a community can have when they come together to take ownership of the things that matter most to them and certainly makes you wonder why you would follow the crowd when you could be the crowd.