The founder of Independent Liquor, who died late last year, has left part of his inheritance to some of his employees, according to reports.

Michael Erceg, who was killed when his helicopter crashed in November, has made five of his staff instant millionaires, the Sunday Star-Times said yesterday (11 June). He signed the will five months prior to the accident.

The paper said that Erceg, 49, left NZ$30m (US$18.9m) to 15 employees, former employees and relatives, from his personal fortune of more than NZ$600m.

Erceg left NZ$1m each to five of his top executives, while another 10 employees received NZ$500,000 each.

Independent Liquor is being prepared to be sold. Although the paper claims that Lion Nathan is a front runner to acquire the distiller, just-drinks understands that the beer and wine company is not looking to make a bid. Although Lion Nathan is looking to enter the Australian RTD market, it is thought that the company is looking to start from a smaller base, allowing it to build the brand better.