The Shout Magazine (New Zealand)

An opportunity to invest in the booming gin industry


Mark Halton started with a blank sheet of paper in conceiving and creating Denzien Urban Distillery, a Wellington artisan distillery he set up to reflect his desire for authenticity, craftsmanship and imagination.

A true artisan gin distillery, Denzien is right in the heart of Te Aro in New Zealand’s capital city. The Denzien proposition is deliberately and unashamedly urban.

Mark’s journey began in March 2016 while watching a short film about craft distilleries specialising in gin. After attending Junipalooza Melbourne in October that year, and talking with distillers and distillery owners, he began researching market opportunities, investigating the costs of production, and analysing local and global gins. 

After completing a hands-on certificate course at the Koval distillery in Chicago May 2017, he was able to complete a peer reviewed business plan, which created purposeful direction that still holds true today.

The Chicago course was certified by German manufacturer Kothe, which he had selected very deliberately to manufacture the state-of-the-art copper still. 

His first gin, Te Aro Dry, was developed in his apartment. Micro batch distillations developed over nine months achieved a botanical balance that created an approachable and versatile gin – perfect for the first release. An enormous amount of work took place after returning from Chicago.

Opening the door to the public November 2018, Denzien Urban Distillery arrived on the emerging New Zealand gin scene with a living and breathing public R&D lab, a retail shop and front distillery that was the first destination urban distillery in New Zealand.

Four months later, Denzien won all the awards and trophies available at the inaugural NZ Spirits Awards 2019, and continues to collect commendations for their work, including San Francisco.

“We make award-winning, world class New Zealand terroir gin,” says Mark.

“We are fanatical in our pursuit of no-compromise craft gin, distilling Wellington rain water, organic native botanicals and sustainable whey ethanol in our gorgeous Kothe copper still. We have promiscuous gin-curious drinkers firmly in our sights. We know they want to make a personal connection with the maker and product provenance.”

After a five-year journey bringing his vision to life, Mark finds himself with undiminished enthusiasm for the brand and products he has created, great pride and satisfaction in what he has achieved thus far, and a belief in the future of the business which is stronger than ever.

However, he is very conscious that rapid progress will require other skills, capacities and resources on top of what he is able to bring.

Consequently, the Denzien Urban Distillery business is being brought to market as a unique opportunity by Gerard Dunne of ABC Business Sales.

Gerard speaks with passion about this opportunity, understanding what Mark has done in creating Denzien and having assisted Mark with the sale of a previous business which led the field in a completely different business space, prior to his setting up Denzien.

“Mark is one of a kind; he brings a great capacity for highly efficient business operation together with a natural sense of brand and creative which reflects his original training and experience in the creative marketing world and head of design for a large London marketing agency,” says Gerard.

“Denzien has grown out of his great passion for food and drink, and gin in particular.”

Denzien has got a lot of runs on the board, with the following quoted by Gerard as examples:

  • Stunning visual brand identity, brand recognition and a solid early stage customer base.
  • Fully functioning production distillery in the heart of Wellington, with a state-of-the-art 700 litre still from KotheDestillationstechnik (Eislingen Germany)  – a proven local and international crowd-puller and a unique proposition within the gin industry in New Zealand.
  • Three permanent labels, unique ‘Distillers Proof’ label –  four limited release market unique recipes.
  • Awards:  Te Aro Dry – Gold Medal and Double Trophy for Te Aro Dry as best New Zealand in category and best overall in category – Gin (2019 New Zealand Spirits Awards); Silver Medal (2020 New Zealand Spirits Awards), and Silver Medal for Our Cost (2020 New Zealand Spirits Awards).
  • Highly strategic relationships with well-known industry players.
  • Fully developed and documented business systems and processes.

If you think Denzien might be the opportunity you have been looking for, either as an outright acquisition or partial buy in, Gerard Dunne can be contacted in confidence on (027) 220 8277.

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