This year Blacks Brewery and Distillery Kinsale launched The Whiskey Founders Club. As well as being a sound investment, The Whiskey Founders Club offers the unique opportunity to share in a piece of Black’s distillery heritage. As part of the distillery’s initial production in 2020, 500 casks are being offered to individuals looking to invest in something a little bit different!
For whiskey lovers, this is a chance to own a strictly limited cask of whiskey produced in Kinsale. For those with an eye on the bottom line, investors are promised a minimum return of 21.7 per cent.
Blacks started in May 2013 with one employee, Sam Black, and one product, KPA (Kinsale Pale Ale). The business took off and Sam’s wife Maud came on board. The successful Brewery and Distillery now supplies gin, rum, beer and whiskey in Ireland, Italy, UK, France and Finland and employs eight people.
“Feedback on The Founders Club has been really positive,” says Sam. “There are a number of options available to investors. After five years we can bottle the contents of your whiskey cask on site so you can give them as gifts or sell them on. You may choose to take ownership of the cask for resale or we will buy the cask back with a minimum of four per cent return per annum on the initial purchase. It’s a virtually risk-free asset backed investment, with the casks held at a third-party bonded warehouse.”
Investors may also choose to keep the cask at the bonded warehouse for a longer period to allow it to mature further before bottling.
“Investors can tailor the type of whiskey they want with a choice of casks that had previously held wine, sherry, port or bourbon and choose between single malt whiskey or single pot still whiskey. “The single pot still whiskey has a small percentage of other grains such as rye or oats in the recipe, which can lend unique flavours to the finished Whiskey,” explains Sam. “Most of the investors to-date have gone with a single malt bourbon cask (a very classic Irish whiskey style) with a few more adventurous opting for ex-Port or ex-Sherry cask.”
Blacks plan on hosting a networking event each year for the Whiskey Founders Club members – an excellent opportunity to develop business connections, as well as a chance to taste Black’s products.
Working with West Cork Distillers, Blacks has two whiskeys currently on the market with plans to launch another one in the run-up to Christmas. “We want to have the shelf space ready for when our own whiskey comes on stream,” says Sam. “Almost all of our current export customers are looking for whiskey as well, so there is great demand there.”
The relationship with West Cork Distillers works both ways; Blacks is supplying the company with a Pale Ale and Stout, which they use for seasoning their own whiskey casks.
In 2015, Sam and Maud added the distilling side to the business and started producing a range of small batch spirits, the first of which was Poteen. “We loved making Poitín and won several awards for this but in 2016 there was a formalisation of the rules for the production of Poitín and Irish Whiskey, which called for dual copper pot stills, which we did not have at the time. Since then we have focused on producing Gin and Rum and are delighted to be in a position to reinvest in more distilling equipment, which allows us to once again produce poteen and begin production of Irish Whiskey in Kinsale”.
“We’ve developed the distillery from nothing really, starting off with a very small 20 litre still and growing slowly over the years. Our two new copper pot stills have a combined size of 4000 litres so it’s some jump,” says Sam. What we’ve achieved in the space of four years is something we’re very proud of. We’re still fully independent, family owned and operated, it’s been quite a journey to get where we are today.
“There are a lot of spirit brands in the marketplace at the moment but not a huge amount of producers with their own products. We’re very keen on maintaining the traceability of our ingredients and process so when we do launch our own whiskey, you’ll be able to trace the origin of everything in it and where it was made. It will be a genuine Irish product with genuine providence from Kinsale.”
For more information on The Whiskey Founders Club and becoming a member go to
www.blacksbrewery.com/founder or email