Boru in limbo as United Brands fails

16 April, 2010

Boru vodka has been left without UK distribution after its Southampton-based distributor United Brands went into liquidation.

Insolvency firm Begbies Traynor? confirmed the company had gone under in November. The United Brands website has been closed and its phones switched off.

Liquidator Julie Palmer told OLN: “The business was doing well until January but, against the backdrop of economic problems, sales tailed off and trading didn’t pick up again.”?She said the number of pubs and bars closing their doors had also contributed to the demise of the business.

London-based Love Drinks has already taken over distribution rights for Goslings rum. Director Kirsty Loveday said she launched the rum in 2004 for owner Castle Brands but wouldn’t be taking on other spirits in United Brands’ portfolio.

United was founded in February 2000 and was taken over in January 2007 by Rob Preston and Mark Dawkins, who became joint directors.

Companies House documents show Mark Dawkins stepped down as a director in July 2008.

The company has gone to the wall despite having its lead brands in two of the fastest-growing spirits categories – vodka and golden rum.

United Brands’ portfolio included Boru vodka, Gosling’s rum, Pallini Limoncello, Knappogue Irish malt and Clontarf Irish blended whiskey.

The brands are owned by US-based spirits company Castle Brands. United Brands took on its portfolio in April 2007.

Palmer confirmed Castle Brands was the main creditor but said the amount of money owed was still being worked out.

She said the number of staff who had lost their jobs was “minimal” but she was unable to confirm how many had gone.

Stockists for the brands include Sainsbury’s, Matthew Clark Wholesale and Aldi.

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