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Source: New Zealand Government

A West Coast distillery will benefit from a Provincial Growth Fund investment that will enable it to expand its operations and create jobs in the town of Reefton, Rural Communities Minister Damien O’Connor and Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones have announced.

The Reefton Distilling Co will receive a $928,000 Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) loan to help move its distillery to larger premises and buy the equipment it needs to expand operations.

Shane Jones said the craft distillery was growing rapidly.

“The distilling company began operating only two years ago but it is already proving hugely successful, so much so that it has outgrown its existing premises.

“Demand for the distillery’s international award-winning products is increasing and the $1.86 million expansion project will allow it to keep up with that demand, grow production and host more tourists,” Shane Jones said.

Damien O’Connor said the relocation and fitout of the distillery would provide local construction jobs and significant spending in the region. Construction work is expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2021. 

“The expansion has created another seven to eight fulltime jobs, with more expected to be created in early 2021, in addition to existing fulltime permanent staff and casual workers.”

The new development will also provide education and training opportunities for youth through part-time employment, work experience and internship programmes.

“This employment growth is significant in a small town like Reefton and fits in well with the Government’s COVID-19 response and recovery plan which aims to stimulate local economies and create jobs by backing projects which can start immediately.”

Shane Jones said the Reefton Distilling Co was also increasing its environmental sustainability.

“The distillery is already working with the Department of Conservation to grow its sustainable use of native botanicals to flavour spirits, as well as collecting rainwater, considering solar energy and using a bio-mass boiler to power its stills.”