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Comhar Capital completes £4.25m investment in The Lakes Distillery

The Lakes Distillery

The Lakes Distillery, a Cumbrian-based whisky distiller, has secured a £4.25m investment from Comhar Capital, to support its ambitious growth plans.

With its investment Comhar Capital has acquired a minority share in the business. The funding will support The Lakes’ ongoing capital investment programme and continued growth in maturing whisky stocks as the business begins to develop internationally.

The Lakes Distillery (‘The Lakes’) was established close to Bassenthwaite Lake in 2011 under the leadership of Nigel Mills and Paul Currie.

The Lakes’ whiskymaker, Dhavall Gandhi, joined the business in 2015 from The Macallan and is developing a strong reputation across the market for The Lakes sherry-led house style.  The business already boasts a collection of award-winning whisky, gin and vodka spirits, that can now be found at a number of leading online and high street retailers, including Ocado, Co-op, and Next.

Comhar’s investment will be used to support further investment in the The Lakes Setmurthy distillery and visitor centre and will see production capacity tripled to more than 1m bottles p.a.

This is the fourth investment from Leeds-based Comhar (pronounced ‘core’) which was established in 2018 by Neil Armstrong and Craig Wilkinson. The company, named after the Gaelic word for ‘partnership’ has been established as an independent direct capital investment business targeting SMEs run by forward-thinking, growth orientated managers. Craig will join the Board of The Lakes Distillery.

Commenting upon the new partnership Nigel Mills CBE, co-founder and CEO of The Lakes, said, “Our vision is to create a global luxury single malt whisky brand. It’s an ambitious goal and one which means quality is at the heart of everything we do. A sentiment very much shared by Comhar.

“The new investment will help to sustain our ongoing program of capital investment which, in 2020, will see single malt whisky production treble from 400,000 bottles p.a. to 1.2 million, the installation of eight new washbacks to facilitate 24-hour distillation, construction of a new racked warehouse, and support for our aspiration to increase sales in the UK, Europe, Asia and the US.”

Craig Wilkinson, Managing Director at Comhar commented: “We’re really delighted to be working with the team at The Lakes and supporting them to deliver on their global growth ambitions.

“In a relatively short space of time, Nigel and the team have successfully established The Lakes brand in the market and its reputation for quality. The Lakes Distillery is very impressive and a real credit to the team.”

Legal support for the transaction was provided by Jeremy Cunningham and Rupert Wyles of RPC.

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