FTI Consulting has been appointed as receiver by a Nant Distilling Company creditor to secure the assets of the Bothwell distillery.
Quentin Olde and Joseph Hansell have been appointed as receivers and managers of Nant Distilling Pty Ltd by secured creditor Eclipx Commercial Pty Ltd, an FTI Consulting spokesman said.
“The appointment follows the ongoing dispute between Nant and Australian Whisky Holdings, and has been made in order to secure the commercial interests of Eclipx Commercial,” the spokesman said.
“Australian Whisky Holdings owns the property at Bothwell in Tasmania where the Nant Distillery is located, not Nant Distilling Pty Ltd or the assets of that business, including names and trademarks,” he said.
FTI Consulting will secure Nant Distilling assets, including whisky barrels and their contents, at a secure bond store while ownership is determined.
“It is too early to say what the status of the assets is, and the receivers are not in a position to make any definitive statements about ownership at this stage,” the spokesman said.
EARLIER: An online war has broken out between the previous owners of Nant Distilling Company and the business that has taken control of the distillery, Australian Whisky Holdings.
In what Tasmanian Whisky Producers Association president Robbie Gilligan is calling an “internal dispute” over which company owns the Nant Distillery business, the battle has been taken online.
Early on Thursday morning Nant Distillery posted that it had, “taken what it's (sic) believes is the appropriate action to rightly claim back the Distillery business and the rights of our Barrel Owners from Australian Whisky Holdings Limited (AWY),” on Facebook.
Both businesses agree Australian Whisky Holdings owns the land where the distillery is situated in Bothwell, however Nant is disputing ownership of the whisky barrels and has signed a new management agreement to handle the barrels.
Nant plans to, “get on with collecting barrels and our plant and equipment and recommence filling barrels and selling whisky”, it was announced on the business Facebook page.
This statement was made in response to Australian Whisky Holdings’ letter from company secretary Kenneth Lee to Nant barrel investors earlier this month.
This letter said: “AWY has commenced its own licensed distillery operations on the historic Nant Estate, has been licensed to use and trade under the name Nant and continues to manage the whisky barrel investment scheme operated by NAW Barrel Holdings Pty Ltd (formerly named Nant Barrel Holdings Pty Ltd)”.
Further communication to barrel investors from Australian Whisky Holdings CEO Chris Malcolm said the business planned to buy whisky barrels back.
“AWY Management intends to acquire mature barrels from barrel investors and we will shortly contact each of the barrel investors individually to make our offers with respect to the acquisition of the mature barrels,” Mr Malcolm said in his March 2 letter.
Mr Gilligan, who is also the Redlands Estate Distillery business manager, said he had confidence the new owners would continue with the standards set by Nant Distillery.
“I can't comment on how the business has been managed in the past, but I believe the new owners are confident that those quality aspects will continue in the future,” Mr Gilligan said.
“The spirit they were making was high quality and I’m very confident in AWH having control. Consumer confidence will grow again, hopefully soon,” he said.
Nant Distilling Company was contacted for comment, but did not respond.