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Things Not Too Good At The Ladybank Distillery

 
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Finlay
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 07, 2009 10:35 pm    Post subject: Things Not Too Good At The Ladybank Distillery Reply with quote

Things are not looking good for the Ladybank distillery or its investors. I came across this story in The Courier. www.thecourier.co.uk

Founder of the Ladybank Company of Distillers, James Thomson, hoped to start producing a rare Scotch single malt at Peterhead Farm two years ago, but the distillery remains a dilapidated steading at the end of an overgrown track between the Bow of Fife and Pitlessie.

Disgruntled investors are now questioning the silence surrounding the private members' club billed as the ultimate 19th hole near St Andrews.

Members were persuaded to part with their cash by the promise of 300 bottles of whisky over 50 years, part ownership of the small, farm-scale distillery and the opportunity to be closely involved with production of the valuable malt.

Up to 400 memberships costing £1850-3250 have reportedly been sold.

Attempts by The Courier to contact Mr Thomson were unsuccessful.

Mr Thomson received planning permission for the distillery in 2003, and work began on site in August 2006.

However, it appears only replacement of the steading roof has been completed and building materials lie abandoned nearby.

There is a proposal with Companies House to strike off The Ladybank Company of Distillers Club Ltd, which was established in 2002.

However, two companies, Ladybank Distillery and Ladybank Company of Distillers Ltd"both incorporated in 2007"remain active.

One founding member, Peter Catterall, who lives in Germany, invested £3400, including 10 shares for which he says he received no certificates.

He heard of the distillery in a BBC money programme.

He said, "All appeared to be going well for about five years. "There were plenty of updates on the well-designed website and detailed plans of how things were progressing."?

But when Mr Catterall tried contacting the company after buying shares in January 2008, he told The Courier Emails went un- answered and he was unable to get through by phone to the registered office in Edinburgh.

He has been in touch with other members and shareholders"several of whom have written of similar experiences on a whisky magazine web forum.

Mr Catterall stressed he realised as an investor failure was always a risk, and he was not implying there had been anything underhand, but said the lack of communication showed "a lack of bottle"? when things got tough.

He said, "We all still live in hope, but at the moment the whole project seems to be on very rocky ground."?

Peterhead Farm is close to Daftmill Distillery, a small family operation that began production in December 2005"the two are not connected, however.

Finlay
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Alastair
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 08, 2009 11:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Finlay, I remember considering this a few years ago but i am so glad i didnt. Here is is a piece from the Guardian newspaper which shines a light on what has happened at the proposed Ladybank distillery over the years. It is a letter from a Guardian reader asking what is going on with the distillery.:

4,000 ... the price of a wee dram
Micro-distillery is on the rocks, but has not sunk

Question from reader
I paid £2,850 in 2003 for membership of the Ladybank Company of Distillers. It was going to convert an old farmhouse into a distillery, and members would get bottles of single malt when they were ready.

It should have been complete by 2006. But nothing happened.

In 2007 I was asked to subscribe a further £1,550 - this time as shares, rather than membership. I have heard little since.

What is going on? PC, Germany

Reply
This project started out well, with newspaper and television coverage. A property was found and it appeared that planning permission had been granted. But the expected 1,200 members turned out to be 300, and the Scottish legal system was difficult to work with - the distillery needed a 50-year lease, which was not available.

By 2006 there was nothing left of the £750,000 invested. In 2007 the club concept was abandoned for a company one. There were also Customs difficulties with the micro-distillery idea - the Revenue demands a minimum size (which is large), unlike the regime for micro-breweries.

The upshot is that Ladybank has run out of cash; the directors are unpaid and have lost £150,000 of their own money.

All of these matters should have been better researched at the outset - but this is massive over-enthusiasm rather than sharp practice.

Ladybank says it is "still determined to get there" but it "will be slow".

The only consolation is that, should it ever produce whisky, members will be sent some bottles.

But this will be by 2016 at the earliest, and it will almost certainly be the priciest dram you've ever sampled.

Alastair
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Bookie
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 08, 2009 12:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I never thought this was a good idea but you have to feel for the 300-400 people who did put in the £750,000 i am sure the BBC Money Program helped sell this club scheme to many of the people who put money in..

It seems to me that the so called directors have not actually lost a great deal of there own money only £150,000

I am sure investors feel they have been mis-sold this because the concept they bought into was badly researched and simply didnt work. The work simply should not have begun until the project was fully funded. Hopefully for the investors sakes they can save this project but i would think it is very unlikely to attract new investors now and it appears they have no money to continue.

Bookie
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Gregor
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 08, 2009 3:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Although the club concept was abandoned for a company concept in 2007 ladybanks website site still promotes the club concept. i feel sorry for those who did invest.

Gregor
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Charlie
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 08, 2009 10:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I feel for the people who put money in, i would imagine a few will be taking legal advice.

Charlie
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jimdowie
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 16, 2010 5:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I am one of the many luckless investors who put money into the Ladybank project, on a whim and on the write up given to it on the BBC programme, I'd hope for a good investment Laughing I tried over many months since its demise to speak directly to James Thomson, the Founder of Ladybank, in an effort to find out what happened and where the money is now. With a bit of Googling, information from companies house and other information I found Mr Thomson's phone number and spoke directly to him. Alas it is suffice to say that I will not see my money back or will any of the other investors, Mr Thomson is convincing in his explanation of where the members money went to. I am however assured by James Thomson that he is willing to speak with any of the investors in order to explain his corner. If you don't get him at that number you can always call on him at his recently renovated self catering cottages (1000's spent on renovation)on the Isle of Arran :
http://www.aboutscotland.co.uk/arran/banlicken.html
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Mark
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 16, 2010 10:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I am sure it would have been the BBC which helped sell this to many of the investors. I cant believe the Ladybank website is still up and running as if all is OK.
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dramlover
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 02, 2011 3:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Finlay,

I am one of the early investors, having heard about it via the FT (the Ladybank homepage still has a link to the article!). Fortunately, early entry meant a smaller fee, though the sterling was a bit strong then. I also remember articles in other papers and the remember following the rising costs of membership with some glee Confused

Not having logged on to the site for a couple of years, it soon became apparent that nothing had changed since 2008. Did not take long to smell something was amiss. A bit after, I discovered this thread thanks to Google.

I am afraid that I would have to write it off as a loss as I do not see the overall climate favourable to this kind concern for some time, at the least. I am lucky NOT to have fallen for shares -- I declined the offer.

I am not sure if the entire membership idea was dropped when the shares were issued. Are all member privileges gone? Anyway .... it is all whisky under the bridge, methinks Sad
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dramlover
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 02, 2011 3:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just found the original posts from Peter Cattreall:

http://www.whiskymag.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=10832

He can be contacted at catterall_peter@hotmail.com.

I do feel lucky not further forking out for the shares. Feel for those who not only paid
much more than us 'founder members' but put in more.
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Charlie
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 02, 2011 11:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I doubt anyone will see any money or whisky from Ladybank. Just had a look at there website though and it has changed since i last saw it. The site now seems to be a bit like the distillery - unfinished.
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McKay
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 20, 2011 5:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I see that The Ladybank Company Of Distillers Club Limited and Ladybank Distillery Limited have gone into liquidation
www.thecompanymerchant.co.uk/cms/companies-house/companies-house-documents.html?companyid=SC241386&doc=y

Not a surprise to anyone i would have thought.
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Mark
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 22, 2011 12:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Unbelievably the Ladybank website is still up and running with no signs of any problems.
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Calder
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 22, 2011 2:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mark wrote:
Unbelievably the Ladybank website is still up and running with no signs of any problems.
yeh strange how they dont take the site down or at least put an announcement on the site that they have went into liquidation
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