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Case Study:

Black Collar Distillery

15 August 2019

Kerikeri business Black Collar Distillery is quickly becoming a well-recognised brand in the world of quality spirits.

The man behind it all, Jonathan McLean, spent years in the United Kingdom learning and perfecting the art of handcrafting spirits. He ultimately decided to begin this business journey in his native New Zealand. So once he secured the funds and equipment he needed, Jonathan flew back home and set up shop in the Bay of Islands.

Since opening its doors a week before Christmas 2017, the team at Black Collar has risen rapidly, receiving international accolades and quickly generating demand.

Most recently, Black Collar took home gold in the vodka category at the International Wine and Spirits Competition (IWSC) in London. Scoring an impressive 95 out of 100 for its Black Collar Vodka, the team were the only kiwis to take home gold at the event. In fact, Black Collar completed a hat-trick with its Rum and Gin taking home bronze in their respective categories as well.

Black Collar Distillery | BDO NZ

Enter: BDO Northland

In 2018 Jonathan realised his business was growing quicker than he expected. His Father in Law was the first to point out that it was time to get strong accounting procedures in place. That’s when Jonathan rang Scott Kennedy, the firm’s managing partner, leading the Business Advisory and Tax practice in the Whangarei office.

Scott and Jamie Chisnall, senior accountant, worked closely with Jonathan to build more structure around the distillery’s business operations. During this time, the business switched over to Xero’s cloud-based accounting software platform and put an agreement in place with a marketing partner to build out the distillery’s brand.

From there, the pair worked on training, forecasts and the preparation of some internal accounts.

The distillery’s most recent awards indicate the business is set to continue growing at a rapid pace. The spirits industry is fast moving and the fact that BDO can provide Jonathan with quick snapshots of the business’ budget and expenses is extremely important. This insight ensures Black Collar is capable of continued and sustained growth.

Black Collar Distillery | BDO NZ

A partner to rely on

Above all else, Jonathan values the advice BDO can offer. As Black Collar continues to grow, the ability to ring up a Chartered Accountant and specialist like Scott is invaluable.

Looking back at the work done in conjunction with BDO so far, Jonathan recognises so many areas where things would have been more costly, more daunting or even more complex without BDO’s help. With BDO’s help he has more time to concentrate his efforts on making award winning spirits.

“BDO is reputable across New Zealand for a reason. They know their stuff, they have specialists in every niche you can imagine and they are there to lean on when you need them,” explains Jonathan.

“As far as I’m concerned, they’re worth their weight in gold.”

In the next five to 10 years, Jonathan hopes to see Black Collar Distillery become an international brand. He’s confident that with BDO by his side this growth is not only possible but manageable.