The uncertainty of Brexit has been blamed as plans for a new distillery in Barra are put on hold for an undefined period.
Isle of Barra Distillery had launched a crowdfunding project in December, after a ‘soft launch’ at the community centre in Castlebay. They were seeking £1.5 million of investor funding through a share offer which promised returns for supporters.
The share offer had attracted 33 investors, some pledging over £1,000, and had reached 4% of the target total by last week. It was expected to close on March 31st, but directors Peter Brown, Malcolm Fraser and Neil Mackinnon announced this week that they were withdrawing the share offer for a time, until the economic uncertainty around Brexit had subsided enough to plan for a more certain future.
In a statement posted on Friday (March 1st) on the now-closed crowdfunder page, Peter Brown said: “We've been overwhelmed by the level of interest and support for the Isle of Barra Whisky Distillery. There has been interest from tens of thousands of visitors to the website, crowdfunder and social channels.
“However, we've been advised that with a little thing called Brexit four weeks away, we've probably picked the worst time possible to ask investors (particularly overseas investors) to get involved in a whisky start-up.
"With that in mind, we've decided to put the crowdfunder on hold for short period and re-launch it after the immediate Brexit uncertainty has passed. Apologies for any inconvenience this may cause to the early investors but we think it's best for the project in the long run.”
The directors have pledged to return all money so far invested, offering supporters the option to get involved ‘Phase 2’. They said: “The only thing that's changed is that we're moving the crowdfunding window until after Brexit.”