With a successful capital raise completed in March 2020 and business expansion plans well in hand, Reefton Distilling Co. has turned its attention to strengthening its governance.

Having achieved a final total of $3.35m, the upper end of their maximum target of $3.5m, this award-winning West Coast distillery undertook an extensive and robust process to determine the most appropriate board composition to meet the current stage and demands of the company. Noting that, by its very nature, the company is in growth mode and has different needs during different stages.

Based on the objectives for the Board, four individuals were selected with skills which included strong governance, specific start-up governance experience, global industry experience and networks amongst other skills, including some continuity from the existing board and at least one Independent Director.

The company went out to their shareholders with a resolution to appoint three new and experienced Board members during their current stage and also to accept Managing Director Patsy Bass’s decision to step down as a Director to take up the role of Chief Executive.

Shareholders agreed to the appointment of the three new Board members proposed, to join existing Chair Jo Bransgrove. Bransgrove took up the role of Reefton Distilling Co. Director and Chair in 2019 and is joined by Beverage Industry Expert Carl Carrington as Independent Director, Martin Smith and Ngaio Merrick as Directors.

Carl Carrington has been supporting Reefton Distilling Co. in an advisory capacity since late 2019, and Martin Smith, former NZ Country Manager of L’Oréal and Zone Director for Asia Pacific, MEA and Western Europe, is a specialist in international marketing and global business development. Ngaio Merrick is Portfolio and Investment Manager of Lewis Holdings. Merrick manages Sir David Levene’s investment portfolio and has been at Reefton Distilling Co.’s side from the initial concept of creating a distillery in Reefton. Ngaio Merrick is an experienced Director with a special interest in the unique governance needs of early-stage companies.

Shareholders also accepted Patsy Bass’s rationale for stepping down as a Director to move into the new position of Chief Executive allowing her to focus on running the business and the next stage of growth. Bass’s workload to this point has been huge and continuing with a governance role adds to this significantly. As founder Bass retains the right to reappoint herself to the Board at any time.

“I am confident that my decision to step down as Managing Director is the right one given the size of the business now and the calibre of new board members,” said Bass stated that she will still attend all board meetings as Chief Executive.

“I have every confidence in this new and experienced Board and feel very fortunate to have them at the table. In addition to their outstanding governance pedigree, they are all good, kind people that I respect.”

Reefton Distilling Co. is a modern distillery at the forefront of spirit production in New Zealand, nestled deep in the untamed wilderness of New Zealand’s West Coast, they produce a range of award-winning small-batch distilled premium spirits with a distinct West Coast flavour.

A full range of products is currently available via their website with contactless delivery throughout New Zealand.