Moving Finnish spirits forward: ÄGRÄS DISTILLERY!
From the heart of Fiskars Village, powered by ambition: Ägräs Distillery is on a mission to conquer the world with a selection of spirits to make Finland proud of.
You can find the investment material for the second funding round of Ägräs Distillery at: https://www.invesdor.com/en/pitches/815
Why would we - Juha, Jari, Anssi and Susanna from Fiskars, Finland - think that we can make better spirits than the thousands micro distillers globally?
Because we have something that the rest of the world doesn't: vast Finnish nature, abundant with pure, fragrant herbs that will be found in many of our spirits, giving them a character like no other.
We are a diverse team with a common goal: to provide the Finnish alcohol market with new and exciting taste experiences. A couple of us are the guys behind Rekolan Panimo, one of the first in a new wave of Finnish microbreweries. Other members of the team include: the Fiskars Villager of the Year 2015, a wild herb and botanical professional from Scotland, as well as an award-winning international brand design agency.
We now offer you early access to ownership in a Finnish Distillery like no other.
As we learned a tremendous amount from building a brewery and saw the business grow, we always have had the dream to make an “Internationally Finnish” distillery. One that distills unique spirits worthy of the global market, and one that brings together the passions and the crafts of the Fiskars community.
We imagined custom bottles and glasses made by the glassblowers of Fiskars, we imagined a tasting room adorned with furniture from the local carpenters, we saw bunches of local herbs bundled and ready for their purpose, filling the estate with the spirit of nature. We imagined an award-winning bespoke line of Akvavit, Gin, Digestif and Whisky - all with unmistakable taste profiles, embodying our strong vision.
And then, just as we know that there are more than 150 000 people who visit Fiskars annually and will experience the Ägräs Distillery, we also know that Finland could certainly use a new face on the international spirits scene. As our humility is the soul of our craft, our ambition is the driver behind our global brand.
We invite you on the journey alongside us and offer you to become an owner of this success story!
Our business & market situation
INCORPORATION, FACILITIES & RESOURCES
Ägräs Distillery Oy was established in Q3 of 2015 by four business partners. The company is headquartered in Fiskars, Finland, where the production operations and entertainment facilities are situated.
The company has received the approval of the owner of Fiskars Village, Fiskars Corporation, who will finance the renovation of the the distillery's building, which is also the home for Rekolan Panimo. Located on the banks of the Fiskars River, the Distillery will occupy 200sqm and will have distilling capacity of close to 50,000 liters of total production volume per year. The facilities will be complemented by a Taproom that will welcome guests throughout the year. The Taproom, which is a 75sqm indoor space with direct view towards the distillery, plus additional terrace outdoor sitting towards the river, will have capacity for 24 guests and will provide tastings, entertainment, food and beverage consumption and branded merchandise. Visitors during the summer have the opportunity to take part in new product tastings before the products hit the market. The space will generate additional revenue by distillery tours, private tastings, and as a corporate conference venue.
Ägräs Distillery Oy has already attracted an investment of 1.3 million € in the form of brand design, communications and marketing services secured from the very start of the business, provided by the global brand design & innovation company PACKLAB (www.packlab.co). They have worked on some of the world's greatest brands and are at the forefront of brand design and packaging innovation. Today, they are committed to building Ägräs from the ground up alongside us. This partnership greatly supplements the core competence of the founding team and secures strategic branding and design for Ägräs on a par with the leading spirits brands globally.
PRODUCT OFFERING AND SOURCES OF REVENUE
Ägräs Distillery was named after the ancient Finnish God of nature and abundance - Ägräs. Indeed, Finnish nature and no-nonsense purity are at the core of our brand. Wild herbs picked by our very own wild herb picker - Mr Kenneth McMaster from Scotland - will be used in many of our strong spirits. Ägräs Distillery will be specializing in unique spirits, standing out as notable representations of signature taste within each spirit’s respective category. Our goals are not to produce yet another Gin, or yet another Whisky; rather, we aim to provide spirits that are truly unique and exciting for both connoisseurs and casual drinkers alike.
At the forefront of the craft distilling movement globally, Ägräs Distillery will offer:
Smoke is used in Finland in many ways: smoke sauna, smoked fish, smoked cheese, etc, but rarely does one see a Finnish single malt smoked whisky. Whisky is an interaction of two different processes - distillation and maturation. That maturation takes a long time to do its best work, a minimum of 3 years, a sweet spot of 10 or 12, and well beyond that in exceptional cases. Ägräs will produce its first batches of whiskey immediately upon commencement of operations. Our single malt smoked whisky will see daylight in 2020. During the maturation time, the Distillery will be on the market with signature fast barrel-to-bottle products, which make the rest of the brand's starting portfolio.
Even though Finland is the world’s largest producer of caraway, we are still lacking a good Akvavit, in which caraway is the main ingredient. This will no longer be the case! Ägräs' Akvavit will be a fresh, lively Akvavit to be enjoyed at any time of the year. The spirit will have a rich, distinct taste of fennel seeds and notes of citrus peel.
Get ready for a gin like no other! With bold taste and notes of coriander seeds and black pepper, and a distinct color from the maceration of juniper berries, this gin will be a true signature.
A bitter digestif made of a secret blend of 21 herbs. The rest will be left to the senses.
The Ägräs team has already begun negotiations with sales and distribution partners domestically and abroad. Sources of revenue for the business are secured as follows:
Alko Oy: Finland’s alcohol monopoly, Alko Oy, has stated their interest to include our Digestif, Akvavit and Gin in their selection at the start of Ägräs Distillery operations. Alko’s estimated order volume and sales for the these products per year are 3000 – 5000 liters.
Vinoble Oy: One of Finland's noted HORECA spirits distributors has committed to taking Ägräs' entire brand portfolio into their offering, as well as promoting it and distributing it in restaurants and bars across the country.
Thanks to our experience in the brewery industry, we are also well connected to other Finnish alcohol wholesellers.
Selected distributors in North America are awaiting product samples of the first batches and are ready to discuss collaboration upon tasting.
Focused efforts in internationalization and securing foreign distribution are of primary importance for the team in the immediate and short to long term.
Trade Promotion and Visibility
Ägräs has scheduled or planned appearances at the following trade events, where the brand will be establishing visibility and expanding its partner and distribution network:
- Stockholm Beer & Whisky Festival (September 2016 & Fall 2017)
- Olut Expo, Helsinki (October 2016 & Fall 2017)
- Chicago Independent Spirits Expo, Chicago (Fall 2017)
- Craft Distilling Expo, London (Fall 2017)
- Hong Kong International Wine & Spirits Fair, Hong Kong (Fall 2017)
Our international exposure and market entry will be supplemented by target promotion in trade magazines, as well as specialized trade and wide public commercial blogs and other information media.
Ägräs internationalization strategy will incorporate cooperation with dedicated organizations such as Finpro in including Ägräs’ portfolio within the representative scape of Finnish products for export.
Earned promotional channels such as social media, sponsorship of mixology competitions worldwide, as well as entering tasting competitions will be used to build a promotional momentum for the brand and reach to diverse and wide audience.
MARKET AND COMPETITION
Our mission is to produce the finest hand-crafted spirits made with premium grain, uniquely balanced and infused, craft distilled, aged, and hand bottled at our premises by the Fiskars River.
The world market is hungry for exciting micro distilleries more than ever before. Only in the U.S. the industry has grown 1000% in the last 5 years. In the Nordics, only between 2014 and 2015 the Swedish Box Distillery has doubled its production. Locally, the Finnish distillery Teerenpeli maintained a steady distilling volume of 14 000 liters per year between 2000 and 2010, but has seen substantial growth from 2010 onwards, currently predicting distilling volumes of 160 000 liters in 2016. This very same momentum is enjoyed by our colleagues from Kyrö Distillery and Helsinki Distilling Company, who have achieved great accomplishments with their Gin spirits and are exceeding their 20 000 liter distilling projections.
Competition for our products here in Finland will come from the Kyrö Distillery’s gin, moonshine, and rye whisky; Helsinki Distilling Company’s gin, rye whisky, and applejack; as well as Teerenpeli’s whisky. Our akvavit will be competing against the other Nordic akvavits, whereas our digestif will find competition in the well-known Unicum, Gammel Dansk, Jägermeister and Fernet Branca. The whisky market is fiercely competitive. So, in order to keep our promise of bringing different products to the market, we will produce a rarely seen Finnish single malt smoked whisky.
While the competitive scape is busy and our brand will be capitalizing on a momentum shared with other good domestic performers, our products are uniquely competitive on their own within their niches and do not compete with each other.
On both the domestic and international markets, Ägräs is a distillery that will do more than compete simply with products; we will be reaching back to the roots of our land and will be evoking the craftsmanship of an entire community. We believe that "the world's best.." is yet to come.
We are a versatile team with a shared goal: to bring new exciting experiences to the Finnish spirits scene. Our team consists of founding partners in one of the very first new wave microbreweries in Finland - Rekolan Panimo, of The Fiskars Villager of the Year 2015, of a Scottish renown botanics and wild herbs master and of an award-winning international brand design agency.
Founding Partner, CEO
Juha is Hyvinkää’s gift to Ägräs. Even more so, as the CEO of the Distillery, Juha's responsibility is to take the business forward ambitiously with clear goals in mind. He is a genius in the IT business, and therefore, the brains of the distillery. Juha has a long entrepreneurial background in both the IT business and the drinks industry. As a result, he has confidently taken the reins and is set on a mission to get Ägräs up and running in no time.http://bit.ly/1HC1owe
Founding Partner, COO
Jari is no novice to the industry. With 17 years experience from the restaurant business, his life is all about flavors and different tastes. His approach to distilling and brewing is founded upon his unending pursuit of finding unusual and memorable flavors that make his products uniquely distinguishable. The Founder of Rekolan Panimo and a partner at Fiskarsin Juustola, Jari is an accomplished entrepreneur with solid know-how of how to build a business from nothing to successful operations. When not hard at work, Jari experiments and develops recipes and writes about them in his own blog, Tuoppi ja Sapuska: www.tuoppijasapuska.com.http://bit.ly/1QdgFf5
Founding Partner, Business Development & Sales
Anssi is an international sales professional with longstanding experience in business development, product management and international business and strategy. Anssi’s global connections spanning from North America to East Asia, his natural talent for sales, and sense for the exciting will be muscle behind Ägräs’ commercialization worldwide.http://bit.ly/1GSe6w7
Founding Partner, General Manager
Named Fiskars' resident of the year for a reason, Susanna is an inspiring, brave and modern peasant who makes art of being a hillbilly. Susanna has a decade long experience working as a manager, entrepreneur and with project development. At Ägräs, she is in charge of planning and building the tap-room and planning and executing the direct customer experience component of the business.http://bit.ly/1M1jfAN
Botanics and Herbs Master
Kenneth came to Finland in the year 2000. When he moved to Karjaa, where there are few bars and limited beers on offer, Kenneth started making home-made wine and brewing beer. He wanted to use as much local, home grown and wild produce as possible. Having got to know the local area through foraging for mushrooms and berries he was able to find the ingredients needed for making gruit ale - a promising start to something greater to come. When looking after the plants he has in his vegetable plot, Kenneth does a lot of weeding, which prompted him to find out more about edibility and other uses for the weeds he was pulling out. Now, after having studied Natural Resources at Novia Yrkeshögskolan, Kenneth has an extensive understanding of the environment that surrounds the area he lives in. His natural talent for finding and utilizing nature’s best flavors is Ägräs’ proprietary secret we are holding on to with both hands.
Unlisted growth companies are high-risk investments. Making a high-risk investment involves risks, for example the risk of losing your investment, lack of liquidity, irregular or rare dividends and dilution of your stake. Please study this risk warning before making a high-risk investment.
It is recommended that you familiarize yourself with the investment target of your choice, reduce risks by investing in several investment targets and balance your investment portfolio with more liquid investments. We also advise you to pay attention to the Target Company specific risk descriptions, which you will find included in the pitch materials.
Attached to the pitch there is a creditworthiness report that may be relevant for the investment decision
Perhaps the most notable risk domestically is concerned with the Finnish legislative framework and the hight restrictions which apply to many operational and all promotional aspects of alcohol related businesses. As all domestic consumer sales are contingent on the Finnish monopoly and its acceptance of the new products, this single channel distribution poses a big risk on the scale and scope of market entry of the Distillery.
Other risks at the early stages of the business relate to scheduling and performance in case there are delays with the delivery of the equipment or unforeseen technical problems. Slow rate of consumer acceptance or slower than expected pace of internationalization are direct threats to the success of the business.
At the offset however, what makes liquors so appealing to the masses is the fact that they are treated as non-discretionary purchases, thus making demand constant regardless of the overall economic climate. In fact, consumption continues to grow year by year pushing the growth of the micro distilling industry across the globe.
Many big players in the spirits industry are publicly traded and the conservative investor can benefit from the growth that these companies bring to the table. However, trend assessments illustrate that such companies are already too big to deliver huge growth anymore. Investors who appreciate measured adventure will find that investing in small distilling companies can offer huge potential for growth.
Overall risks inherent to this investment would be no different than those pertinent to investments in young growth companies - vulnerability of the business during first production and testing phases, realizing pre-agreed sales contracts, scaling internationalization efforts. Situational market factors however happen to offset portions of those risks, as global and domestic demand for spirits is rising, and cultural and consumption trends support consumers' interest in crafted, micro distilled brews and spirits.