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Reefton Distilling Co. the first NZ Whisky Distillery to achieve Bcorp certification

Leading west coast business Reefton Distilling Co. has become the first New Zealand Whisky Distillery to achieve Bcorp certification.  

Founder Patsy Bass established Reefton Distilling Co. in 2017 to set up a sustainable business in Patsy’s hometown of Reefton and to create jobs for local people.

Bass said her team was very proud upon receiving confirmation of their Bcorp certification. 

“This is a hugely proud moment for all of our team. We established the business for social good, to create sustainable employment on the West Coast and well-paying careers.” 

“To now be a Bcorp business is a tangible acknowledgement of that early vision and a benchmark we will continue to build from,” said Bass. 

Reefton Distilling Co. began its journey with the Bcorp movement over 18 months ago as a way of benchmarking its social and environmental commitments and practices.

Founded in 2006 by B Lab, Bcorp certification measures a company’s entire social and environmental impact.  

The B Lab network leads economic systems change to support the collective vision of an inclusive, equitable, and regenerative economy, with programs and tools to help companies plan for a resilient future. 

Bass said she founded Reefton Distilling Co. with a 100-year vision to both positively impact the local economy and generate roles for young people. 

“This business is not just about whisky and gin, it’s about helping to regenerate a town, providing jobs for the next generation, so that they might have a future on the Coast, stay here, raise their own families, keeping the community alive and vibrant. It’s also about attracting new people to the region,” said Bass. 

Bass said she wanted to create a business that offered visitors a unique experience and provided a reason for tourists to visit, which helped the distillery gain momentum in recent years.

Reefton Distilling Co. has always been mindful of its environmental impact as the distillery operates a bio-diesel boiler.

Significant investment in a closed loop cooling system to reuse water, saves hundreds of thousands of litres per year going to waste.   

The minimal wastewater created is used to irrigate their own and neighbouring farmland, and the spent grain from whisky production is used to feed the local farmers’ cows.

Bass said that smart business looks at a holistic view, combining profit and purpose, adding that joining the Bcorp movement was a logical next step.  

“We were attracted by the spirit of continuous improvement at the heart of the Bcorp movement,” said Bass.

Having now joined the community of over 8000 Bcorp’s worldwide, Bass added that they are committed to becoming carbon zero. 

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