AN ENTREPRENEUR who hopes to transform a listed building into malt whisky distillery has raised more than £100,000 in three days, with the help of an innovative website which allows anyone to become an investor.
Founder Doug Clement is trying to raise £2m to fill what he calls a ‘glaring gap’ in the Scotland’s malt whisky geography, by establishing a visitor-friendly craft whisky distillery at the East Newhall Farm Steading on the Cambo Estate, near Kingsbarns.
He hopes the craft distillery, which will produce malt whisky and other spirits such as gin, liqueurs and schnapps, will sell directly to many of the estimated 2.8m visitors who come to St Andrews and the surrounding area every year.
Although Mr Clement has received a £150,000 grant from Scottish Enterprise, he said attracting further funding has proved challenging because of the long-term nature of his proposed business, as his primary product, single malt whisky, will take several years to mature.
In a bid to find alternative sources of funding, Mr Clement turned to Crowdcube, a ‘Dragons’ Den’-style investment site, which allows lots of people to invest small amounts of money in businesses they want to see succeed.
Mr Clement said: “We are talking to several whisky industry players and potential funders from as far afield as Canada, China and South Africa but, having seen the recent fund-raising success of another proposed distillery on Crowdcube, we thought it might work well for us too.
“Since we launched on Crowdcube on March 16 we have already received £110,000 of new investment which represents six per cent of our fund-raising target of £1.85m, so the initial signs are very encouraging.”
Mr Clement hopes to raise enough funds over the next few months to begin restoration work on the distillery site early this summer.