Whitley Neill and Liverpool Gin maker Halewood to shut Merseyside HQ

The firm making Whitley Neill and Liverpool Gin has announced plans to close its Merseyside HQ and offer staff voluntary redundancies.

Halewood International said in a statement on Tuesday that the move to close the Huyton site is down to the impact of the coronavirus outbreak.

The current Huyton site is a 30 acre facility with six main bottling lines, capable of producing 28m cases per annum, as BusinessLive reports.

The business, which employs 1,000 people across the world and whose core products also include Lambrini, vodka and ginger beer brands, said alternative warehouse locations are being considered for a logistics base, "all within a 15-mile radius" of Huyton.

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"A number" of operation roles will transfer to the firm's Chorley site in Lancashire, with employees being offered to apply for voluntary redundancy.

It's not yet known how many roles will be affected.

That's despite "strong international growth" for the firm's core premium brands.

A statement from the firm said: "As a business, we are committed to our ongoing strategy of building a range of premium artisanal spirits with strong provenance.

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"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.

"Consequently, we are considering outsourcing Lambrini to a contract packer, and moving the production and bottling of Crabbie’s Alcoholic Ginger Beer to our manufacturing site in Chorley."

Back in March, following the UK being locked down due to the coronavirus outbreak, the company said it was to close its US office in Miami, as well as downsize the Australian business, with senior management also taking "significant pay cuts".

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The statement on Tuesday continued that the logistics and customer service teams will have the opportunity to transfer to the new warehouse location.

It added: "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 1 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.

"Recently our portfolio of spirits won 44 medals from gold to bronze at the renowned International Wines & Spirits Competition.”