Maine Craft Distilling

Growth Stage

Farm to flask small-batch spirits made in Portland, ME

Analytics

Raised to Date: Raised: $86,623

Aggregate Commitments $

Platform

Republic

Start Date

07/22/2021

Close Date

11/12/2021

Min. Goal

$25,000

Max. Goal

$1,070,000

Min. Investment

$100

Security Type

SAFE

Funding Type

RegCF

Series

Pre-Seed

Valuation Cap

$15,000,000

Discount Rate

0%

Rolling Commitments $

Status

Active

Reporting Date

09/18/2021

Days Remaining

55

% of Min. Goal

346%

% of Max. Goal

8%

Likelihood of Max
unlikely
Avg. Daily Raise

$1,494

Momentum
cool
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Location

Portland, Maine

Industry

Alcohol, Tobacco, & Recreational Drugs

Tech Sector

Non-Tech

Distribution Model

B2B/B2C

Margin

Low

Capital Intensity

High

Business Type

Growth

Maine Craft Distilling, with a valuation cap of $15 million, is raising funds on Republic. The company makes farm-to-flask small-batch spirits. The award-winning spirits of Maine Craft Distilling are made with natural ingredients and come in six distinct and delicious flavors. Luke Davidson founded Maine Craft Distilling in January 2012. The current crowdfunding round has a minimum raise of $25,000 and a maximum raise of $1,070,000, and the funds will be used to grow the team, expand distribution outside of the Northeast, and innovate. Maine Craft Distilling generated $2.6 million in revenue in 2020, with a 122% Sparkling Craft Cocktail Growth in 2020.

Summary Profit and Loss Statement

Most Recent Year Prior Year

Revenue

$2,678,577

$1,682,119

COGS

$1,440,329

$1,211,233

Tax

$0

$0

 

 

Net Income

$208,197

$-693,317

Summary Balance Sheet

Most Recent Year Prior Year

Cash

$0

$0

Accounts Receivable

$62,506

$18,300

Total Assets

$1,058,034

$755,041

Short-Term Debt

$959,887

$942,106

Long-Term Debt

$735,249

$658,234

Total Liabilities

$1,695,136

$1,600,340

Financials as of: 07/22/2021
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Ratings

Analyst Report

Synopsis

As recently as 10 years ago, beer, wine, and hard liquor were the only real categories of alcoholic beverages. Beer was the staple of days at the lake or evenings at the ballpark, and a trip to the bar often featured a cocktail mixed by a bartender. Then, the alcohol industry was explosively disrupted by the sudden rise of hard seltzers, pre-mixed cocktails, and other alternative alcoholic beverages. Hard seltzer sales were up 66% year-over-year in 2019 (though sales have recently slowed), and ready-to-drink cocktail sales soared during the COVID-19 pandemic

Maine Craft Distilling is capitalizing on this industry disruption. The company offers both traditional spirits (whiskey, vodka, gin, etc.) and canned, ready-to-drink cocktails like Blueshine Lemonade and Taliano Orange Spritz. Maine Craft Distilling grew out of a small local distillery in Portland, Maine, which still offers a bar and restaurant. Now, Maine Craft Distilling also ships products to 10 states nationwide with 122% year-over-year craft cocktail growth in 2020. 

Maine Craft Distilling’s current Republic has been rated a Neutral Deal by the Kingscrowd investment team.

Price

Maine Craft Distilling is raising a Crowd SAFE at a $15 million valuation with no discount. This price represents a 5.6x revenue multiple based on 2020 performance, which is a tad high for a typical consumer packaged goods brand. However, multiples in the alcohol industry have been trending higher recently, and Maine Craft Distilling’s burgeoning ready-to-drink cocktail line is well in line with industry demand. Furthermore, a $15 million valuation is very reasonable when compared to other graph stage startups pursuing equity crowdfunding. Therefore, Maine Craft Distilling’s price rating is very strong. 

Market

Maine Craft Distilling operates in two segments of the broader alcohol market: the spirits segment and the ready-to-drink (RTD) cocktails segment. The spirits side of the business seems promising, given a projected 5.02% CAGR over the next five years. The US spirits market was valued at $68 billion in 2020. Whiskey holds the largest share of the spirit market, and Maine Craft Distilling offers whiskey alongside other types of spirits. 

However, the company’s raise page is mostly focused on its canned ready-to-drink cocktail business. A Drizly consumer study found that most consumers can’t distinguish between hard seltzers and RTD cocktails, so Maine Craft Distilling benefits from buzz in both categories. RTD cocktail sales soared in 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic with more than 90% year-over-year growth. The market is growing rapidly but is still small compared to the spirits market. The RTD cocktail market is expected to hit $1.77 billion globally by 2028, with a 12% CAGR over the next seven years. 

Maine Craft Distilling’s products are well-positioned in two growing segments of the alcoholic beverage industry. However, the company’s clear focus on RTD cocktails doesn’t quite match up with the reality of the market. Spirits are a significantly larger market opportunity. While RTD cocktails are all the rage, sales of their close cousin hard seltzer have slowed recently, and the market is still in its infancy. Therefore, Maine Craft Distilling’s market rating is just average.

Team

Maine Craft Distilling was founded by Luke Davidson. Davidson’s background is unclear. His LinkedIn page is practically empty, and the company’s Republic page doesn’t give very much detail either. Davidson has apparently been distilling spirits as a hobby for many years and founded Maine Craft Distilling in 2012 to share those small-batch spirits with the world. Since then, he’s steadily grown Maine Craft Distilling into not only a bar, restaurant, and event space, but also a national distributor of spirits and ready-to-drink cocktails. 

In 2018, Bob Hilscher joined Maine Craft Distilling as COO. Hilscher comes from a sales background. He previously served as the vice president (VP) of sales of two corporate events companies for a combined 16 years, and Hilscher simultaneously served as the president and VP of operations in the second role. 

Hilscher lends a decent amount of business experience to the Maine Craft Distilling team, but his background in corporate events isn’t particularly relevant to this consumer packaged goods company. Between Davidson and Hilscher, Maine Craft Distilling lacks senior team members in sales, marketing, operations, and supply chain. Therefore, the company’s team rating is below average. 

Differentiators

Maine Craft Distilling falls flat in terms of differentiation. Both the spirits industry and the ready-to-drink cocktail industry are extremely crowded. It seems like a new hard seltzer or canned cocktail brand launches each day, often with significant funding from major alcohol corporations like Anheuser-Busch or Boston Beer Company. Maine Craft Distilling’s products are very similar to any of these other brands found in the alcohol aisle, and bigger companies can undoubtedly beat Maine Craft Distilling on distribution and price. The company does not benefit from clear defensibility or differentiation. As a result, Maine Craft Distilling’s differentiation rating is its lowest across all five metrics.

Performance

Maine Craft Distilling is posting impressive financial metrics. In 2019, the company generated $1.68 million in revenue, with a net loss of just under $700,000. In 2020, though, Maine Craft Distilling enjoyed a banner year. Even during the pandemic, Maine Craft Distilling’s restaurant and retail business grew by 14% year-over-year. The company’s spirits business grew by 19% compared to 2019, but ready-to-drink cocktails were the real winner. Sales were up 122% year-over-year. All of this growth led Maine Craft Distilling’s revenue to expand by 59% year-over-year to $2.68 million in revenue for 2020. Impressively, the company also turned a profit in 2020, with a net income of $208,197. 

Maine Craft Distilling products are distributed to 10 states and sold in BJ’s, Hannaford, and Total Wine & More. All of this traction has come from minimal sales effort, as Maine Craft Distilling has not employed a senior salesperson thus far. A portion of the company’s current fundraise will be devoted to hiring a sales leader, with the goal of aggressive growth down the east coast and into more retailers. 

Maine Craft Distilling has grown steadily in recent years and plans to continue expanding with the help of senior sales talent. Based on the company’s strong year-over-year revenue growth and profitability, Maine Craft Distilling’s performance rating is its highest across all five metrics. 

Risks

Though Maine Craft Distilling is generating strong revenue, it’s a relatively risky investment. Most of this risk is derived from financial considerations. The company is carrying a fair bit of debt and apparently ended both 2019 and 2020 with zero cash on hand. With no prior funding history, investors should be concerned that Maine Craft Distilling is facing fundamental financial risks with little safety net. It doesn’t help that the Maine Craft Distilling team has no experience running a business of this type. Volatile market conditions only add to the uncertainty. 

Timing is the other main area of concern for Maine Craft Distilling. While the company’s home location offers direct-to-consumer sales, the company’s products are mainly distributed and sold through wholesalers. This model increases the time length of sales cycles for its spirits and ready-to-drink cocktails. Furthermore, the equipment and space necessary to scale alcohol production is significant. It will take time for Maine Craft Distilling to increase its production volume, which could become a major issue as it looks to spread down the east coast.

Bearish Outlook

Growth in the hard seltzer and ready-to-drink cocktail segments has been the talk of the alcohol industry for several years now. Consumers have enjoyed an explosion of options in the alcohol aisle, from trendy hard seltzers like White Claw to lemonade seltzers, canned cocktails, and much more. However, hard seltzer sales did slow in 2021, and consumers may have too many options to choose from. As the initial rush fades and only the financially strongest brands survive, it will likely be products backed by giants like Anheuser-Busch and Boston Beer Company that remain on the shelves. 

Given the uncertainty in this market, it’s difficult to find full confidence in Maine Craft Distilling’s future. The company’s financials don’t seem to be completely solid, and its founder doesn’t seem to have any significant prior experience. There is intense competition in this industry, and Maine Craft Distilling could face challenges in continuing to scale in coming years.

Bullish Outlook

Maine Craft Distilling grew rapidly in 2020, and year-over-year growth metrics for each segment of the company’s business were impressive. More than $2.6 million in revenue plus profitability is a significant achievement for any business, and it’s probably the biggest selling point for this deal. Maine Craft Distilling is on a growth trajectory, having found clear demand for both its spirits and ready-to-drink cocktails. 

Beyond financial performance, there are other signals that Maine Craft Distilling has the potential to succeed. The company’s products are well-branded with a strong flavor selection and decent prices for a small-batch company. Cocktails like Blueshine Lemonade offer appeal to millennials, and that fact alone has spurred the growth of many alcohol companies. Plus, exit potential is decent in this industry. Major alcohol corporations are making significant investments in hard seltzer, and 2021 has already witnessed acquisitions in the space. If Maine Craft Distilling can continue to grow at a steady pace, it could easily become an attractive purchase for a larger alcohol brand. 

Executive Summary

Maine Craft Distilling is an alcohol company producing craft spirits and canned ready-to-drink cocktails. The company operates a bar and restaurant in Portland, Maine, where the brand has its origins, but ships products to 10 states nationwide with hopes for further expansion. Maine Craft Distilling had a banner year in 2020, as 59% year-over-year growth led to profitability, and 2021 growth looks promising so far. 

However, Maine Craft Distilling is clearly focused on its ready-to-drink cocktail line, and those products face extreme competition from a wide variety of other hard seltzer and canned cocktail brands. There are concerns that the hard seltzer craze is beginning to wane, leaving companies like Maine Craft Distilling (which is low on cash and high on debt) in a difficult position. Therefore, Maine Craft Distilling has been rated a Neutral Deal. 

For questions regarding the KingsCrowd staff pick or ratings for this company, please reach out to support@kingscrowd.com

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