Brewer crowdfunds new tanks

New Zealand brewer, Renaissance Brewing, has installed two new 4000-litre brewing tanks, thanks to the success of their equity crowdfunding venture.

The tanks, which cost about $10,200 each, have been installed at the Blenheim site, reports.

Renaissance Brewing development manager Roger Kerrison said the replacements were much-anticipated, as the old tanks were modified wine tanks “probably built in the 1970s.”

In August, Renaissance Brewing successfully raised $700,000 through equity crowdfunding platform, Snowball Effect.

The platform aims to help New Zealand businesses by raising growth capital through sales of very small share lots to many people.

Renaissance Brewing went live on August 13 with the offer of 350,000 shares, or 12.28 percent of the company, and within one week reached its goal.

There were 301 people who invested in the company, most from outside the Blenheim area, and many from Auckland.

Kerrison said to celebrate their first purchase, they held a virtual "crowd-brew" last Tuesday.

The virtual "crowd-brew" involved their investors tuning into a live stream on You Tube, where they could help the Renaissance brewers decide what to put into new beers.

“Basically the concept was to get the crowd – the people who paid for the tanks – involved and decide what goes in [the new beers] . . . we wanted to engage them in the company.”

Kerrison thinks they were the first company in the world to have a "crowd-brewed beer", he said.

The beer was brewed in one of their new tanks.

Next on the list, was a new keg washer and a "bigger and better" bottling line, which were due to arrive soon, he said.

The company also planned to use the investment to venture into more overseas markets, Kerrison said.

Renaissance exports to eight countries and hoped to break into the Scandinavian, Japanese, and UK markets, he said.

Kerrison had already managed to secure three new markets after a recent trip overseas, he said.

Looking back on the decision to be the first company to attempt to raise capital through equity crowdfunding, Kerrison said it had been a great success.

“It's been fantastic. It was the cash injection we needed to go to the next level and it's enabling us to do things we, unfortunately, didn't have the money for,” he said

“[The funds] are enabling us to up the quality assurance of our beers, and that's the focus of the new tanks and the bottling line.”