Halewood in good spirits as the buoyant artisanal market leads to rapid growth
As the artisanal spirits and craft beers markets grow apace, the UK-based Halewood Wines and Spirits is expanding worldwide with brands that are proving popular with younger people in particular.
From Crabbie’s Ginger Beer to Vestal Vodka, from Dead Man’s Fingers Rum (in multiple flavours) to Pogues Irish Whiskey, Halewood is striking a chord with the public – and the company is looking to form partnerships with new importers and distributors to help it keep up the momentum.
It has taken Halewood little more than four decades to go from being a start-up to becoming one of the UK’s largest independent drinks manufacturers and distributors.
Still run by the Halewood family, the company now sells more than 10 million cases annually and exports to over 90 countries.
Thanks to organic growth and acquisitions, the past three years in particular have seen rapid growth, with production tripling and the company significantly increasing its managerial strength across Europe to cater to markets including France, Italy, Spain and Poland.
As part of its expansion drive, Halewood is increasing its visibility by taking part in trade shows in multiple European countries.
“It’s a key focus to be present and to make much more noise in the market. We need to be closer to our importers and distributors to develop our brands,” said Vincent Assie, the company’s regional manager for western Europe.
It’s the same everywhere – people want to try new things, they want to experience new flavours.
Halewood now employs more than 1,000 drinks specialists worldwide and has invested in new distilleries and craft breweries.
“I am part of Thibault Feniou’s, Managing Director Europe, brand new team for Western Europe. From two people in charge of the duty free and domestic markets, I am now managing four people in Western Europe and we will continue to grow our team,” said Assie. The company has a dozen distilleries, most in the UK but with others in Australia, Russia and South Africa, plus two craft breweries in England. It also has many of its own bars, including the Liverpool Gin Distillery and several others in the UK, along with venues in St Petersburg and Bangkok.
Assie is particularly excited about the prospects of Dead Man’s Fingers Hemp Rum, which is one of several rums in the Dead Man’s Fingers range (the others are Spiced Rum, Coffee Rum and Coconut Rum).
Halewood is constantly innovating its product offer.
“We are the first major spirit company to launch a CBD rum: Dead Man’s Fingers HEMP. We believe it’s going to be the next big thing in the industry,” said Assie.
“It’s the same everywhere – people want to try new things, they want to experience new flavours.”
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Photo: Vincent Assie, Regional Manager Western Europe, Halewood Wines & Spirits
UK #1 selling premium gin
Among them is Whitley Neill Gin, the most successful premium gin range in the UK in the past three years, and Marylebone Gin, a super-premium gin from Johnny Neill, which traces its distilling history back eight generations to 1762.
All Halewood’s bars offer great experiential opportunities and in the larger ones, the company distils on the premises. Both trade and consumers can visit and join a gin or rum programme where they can distil their own gin or rum.