Founder of crowdfunded Limerick whiskey brand to speak at investment event

Tony Foote, co-founder of Foxes Bow Whiskey.

THE FOUNDER of a Limerick whiskey brand is set to speak at an upcoming conference for new businesses and top lenders in Ireland about how to fund a new business.

Tony Foote co-founded Foxes Bow Whiskey with business partner Alice Carroll in 2021. The pair managed to crowdfund over €1million to get the business up and running.

Tony will share his investment journey at the Show Me the Money event in Cork later this month.

The event, which will see new business start-ups and interested representatives from Ireland’s top lenders attend, is being held by small business support platform Enterprise Nation.

Tony Foote says the idea for Foxes Bow Whiskey came about while he was working at Google X in Silicon Valley, because the “whiskey wasn’t speaking to me”.

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“I love whiskey, but the whiskey wasn’t speaking to me. Every bottle was marketed based on traditional values, pictures of rolling hills and castles and a sea of black and green bottles. I felt there was an opportunity to give it a fresh perspective and reach a whole new audience,” the Limerick native said.

He approached childhood friend Alice Carroll in 2020, while she was working for Pernod Ricard in Toronto, and the pair gave up their jobs in 2021 to work on the brand full time.

In May 2022, Tony and Alice managed to crowdfund €625,000 from a mixture of 400 angel and individual investors.

“Crowdfunding works really well for consumer brands, but the proposition has to be compelling enough to align with people’s ideas and mindset. Crowdfunding can become a massive marketing exercise that creates an army of unofficial brand ambassadors,” whiskey pioneer Tony said.

“But for anyone considering crowdfunding, I would say it’s not a silver bullet –the first campaign was a full-time job for us both for three to four months. If you go in and you know the level of effort it takes, then crowdfunding becomes a great vehicle for investment. But be aware it’s non-stop,” he said.

Since entering the Irish market, Foxes Bow Whiskey has launched in Musgraves and Tesco stores, as well as being exported internationally to Italy, Germany, and, now, the Texas in the United States.

The Show Me the Money conference takes place at the Republic of Work on Cork’s South Mall on February 22.