Belle Isle Moonshine eyes $12M capital raise

Belle Isle’s moonshine is touted as an alternative to vodka. It’s sold in 15 states nationwide. (Courtesy Belle Isle Moonshine)

There soon may be about 12 million reasons for a local distillery to raise a glass this holiday season.

Belle Isle Moonshine in recent months began a capital raise with a goal of hauling in $11.7 million from investors.

The Manchester-based distiller had raised $7.9 in equity funding toward that goal as of Dec. 12, according to an SEC filing. CEO Vince Riggi said this is the company’s second funding round, following a $3.7 million raise that began in 2016 and ended in 2017.

Belle Isle has been making flavored liquors since its founding in 2013 and recently added canned cocktails to its offerings. Its products are distributed in 15 states.

Riggi said the latest raise would be spent on distribution, production and capitalizing on the success of a new product.

“Expanding our production and expanding our distribution footprint, moving forward, is where a lot of those capital expenditures will be dropped into,” Riggi said.

He said the company may look at production upgrades at its headquarters at 615 Maury St., which include an automated bottling line, additional tanks and a canning line.

Belle Isle Moonshine is looking at production upgrades at its headquarters. (BizSense file photo)

The money also may be used to increase Belle Isle’s staff, Riggi said, possibly going from 30 full-time workers to 35 in 2020.

Sales of Belle Isle’s canned cocktails have been a pleasant surprise for the company since they hit shelves in Richmond, Virginia Beach and western Virginia in October. Riggi said they sold out quickly and the company is looking to put the cans in the same territories as Belle Isle’s bottles.

“What started as something we looked at as more of a line extension has turned into a potential game-changer,” Riggi said. “We certainly were not expecting this type of response.”

He added they’re working on adding additional flavors to join its grapefruit, orange and standard ones.

As Belle Isle looks to grow its distribution portfolio, Riggi said they’re trying to grow in the states they’re in rather than cover more geographic space.

“We’re big believers in drilling deep and not casting wide. We don’t need to be in 50 states. We’re comfortable in the states we’re in,” he said.

The capital raise opened Sept. 27 and has drawn 80 investors to date, per SEC documents. Riggi said the company has investors in Richmond and throughout the state, and declined to say whether he and another co-founder retain a majority ownership stake as a result of the raise.

Plenty of local companies have been wrapping up investment deals as the year’s end approaches.

Most recently, packaging firm TemperPack closed on a $13 million capital raise, while O’My Dairy Free Gelato, Common House and Hardywood Park Craft Brewery closed on new funding earlier this fall.

Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly reported that Belle Isle completed a $1.5 million capital raise in 2016. That amount was in fact part of an overall $3.7 million raise that ended in 2017. 

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