Halewood to close head office and cut jobs

UK-based Halewood Wines & Spirits is planning to close its headquarters in Huyton and will make a number of additional voluntary redundancies due to Covid-19.

Halewood Wines & Spirits, producer of Whitley Neill gin and Crabbie’s Scotch whisky, said it is considering closing its headquarters in Huyton, near Liverpool. As such, the company has offered all employees at the site the opportunity to apply for voluntary redundancy. The group didn’t confirm how many jobs were at risk.

The move comes just months after Halewood announced it would make a number of voluntary redundancies due to the pandemic. In addition, the firm said it would close its US subsidiary in Miami after less than a year in operation and downsize its Australian business.

The firm said in a statement: “As a business, we are committed to our ongoing strategy of building a range of premium artisanal spirits with strong provenance. However, the impact of Covid-19 and the recent abolition of duty dilution has had a major impact on our sales mix, meaning our carbonated drinks have become less profitable.”

As a result, Halewood said it is looking to move the production and bottling of its Crabbie’s Alcoholic Ginger Beer from Huyton to the firm’s manufacturing facility in Chorley, Lancashire. The company also said it is considering outsourcing its perry brand Lambrini to a contract packer.

Halewood said it is looking at alternative locations for warehousing and a logistics base within 15 miles of the Huyton site. Logistics and customer services teams will be offered the chance to relocate to the new site. The firm also expects to move a number of operational roles to Chorley.

The firm said it will continue focusing on its premium spirits brands, which have witnessed “strong” growth during the pandemic.

The statement continued: “Despite the impact that Covid-19 has had on the business and the industry as a whole, we are still seeing strong UK and international growth for our core premium artisanal spirits brands, including Whitley Neill Gin, the UK’s number one premium gin brand, the fast growing Dead Man’s Fingers range of rums, JJ Whitley vodka and Crabbie whisky, and we will continue to focus on building these brands.”

Opened in 1978, the 30-acre Huyton site operates six bottling lines capable of producing 28 million cases per year, according to the group’s website.

Halewood also operates an office in Mayfair, London, along with a number of distilleries in the UK, including the Aber Falls Distillery in North Wales, City of London Distillery, Liverpool Gin Distillery, and the Bristol & Bath Rum Distillery.

Earlier this year, Halewood Wines & Spirits acquired a 48% stake in Vestal Vodka for an undisclosed sum.

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Author: Nicola Carruthers

Timothy Kelly

Tim is the Founder & Master Distiller at Felene. He developed his passion for the spirits and hospitality business while growing-up and working in his family's restaurant and liquor store business. Tim’s passion for the epicurean lifestyle has found it’s latest manifestation in the Felene Distillery. Tim is a 5-time Gold Medal Award winning Distiller. He has won a Platinum medal at the Prestigious Los Angeles Spirits Awards and his signature vodka was named Best-in-Category by the American Distilling Institute. Mr. Kelly is also a prolific author and writer and his blog is filled with ideas, discoveries, observations and recommendations to help his readers enjoy life’s simple epicurean pleasures.

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