The distillery is offering the public £1m worth of shares and the chance to invest from as little as £10. It hopes to emulate the success of craft beer breweries such as BrewDog, who have generated over £40m from crowdfunding since 2009.
The money will be used to produce whisky for stock and invest in new warehousing and distribution facilities at the distillery’s site.
The Lakes Distillery started trading three years ago and has already produced £30m worth of whisky at retail. The company also produces a number of gin and vodka brands that are on sale in high street outlets in the UK and in major export markets, including the Far East and Australia.
Owning a piece of English whisky history
In addition to producing spirits for sale and export, the Lakes Distillery is in the top 10 of Lake District tourist attractions, receiving in excess of 100,000 visitors a year to its visitor centre and bistro.
Co-founder and chairman Nigel Mills said: “Our first investors, made up of high net-worth individuals, continue to invest but we have decided to reach out to the public, which has been so supportive in our first few years.
“There is now a strong order book for our spirits, an established and reputable trade at our distillery and the very real prospect for small investors of owning a piece of English whisky history.
“I am confident this next round of investment will prove popular and successful, bringing to the spirits sector the innovation that has led BrewDog to challenge the orthodoxy of big brewers.”
Establishing a demand for single malt
Managing director Paul Currie added: “The Lakes Distillery is a unique British enterprise, challenging established distillers with a range of new products crafted in the Lake District National Park by a business owned by a new cohort of entrepreneurs.
“We have tackled the launch of new spirits brands differently by becoming a tourist destination in our own right: a community-based restaurant business; a niche exporter; and successful e-retailer, all while allowing our core product, the Lakes Single Malt, to mature for its market launch from 2018.
“By introducing the world’s first blended whisky, 'The ONE', made from spirits from around the nations of Britain, together with the Lakes' gin and vodka, we have established demand for the new Lakes Single Malt years before it becomes available.”
The distillery expects its turnover for 2017 to be £5m or above, and it currently employs around 85 people.