Halewood changes name to suit long-term shift in strategy

Halewood Wines & Spirits has changed its name to Halewood Artisanal Spirits, as part of a long-term strategy shift for the company.
The move follows last month’s announcement that it planned to close the site of its headquarters in Huyton, Merseyside.

The company said the move was the result of the impact of the Covid-19 crisis and the abolition in April of duty dilution, the mechanism that allowed producers of wine-based and made wine products to bulk up volumes by diluting products after duty had been paid.

As a result of this, and in a change of focus for the company, it has a new name – Halewood Artisanal Spirits – and it has invested £5 million in a new JJ Whitley Russia Distillery, to enhance the provenance of its JJ Whitely Vodka portfolio. The range will now be produced and bottled at the distillery and distributed to major international markets around the world, including the UK and Russia.

Halewood has shifted emphasis in recent years from its carbonated long drinks such as Lambrini and Crabbie’s – both made at Huyton – towards premium spirits.

Stewart Hainsworth, group chief executive of Halewood Artisanal Spirits, said: “Opening the distillery in St Petersburg marks a big step forward for our artisanal spirits offering. It enables us to offer truly authentic vodka which is distilled in one of Russia’s most historic cities, using superlative quality Russian grain and water JJ Whitley is now perfectly placed to provide supermarkets, convenience stores and the on trade with a premium vodka range that meets this demand for both quality and value.”

The new site takes Halewood’s total number of distilleries around the globe to 13. It will be the first British-owned vodka distillery in Russia.

The new site will also distil the company’s Red Square Vodka brand.

The company said despite the impact that Covid-19 has had on the business and the industry as a whole, it is still seeing strong UK growth for its core premium artisanal spirits brands, including Whitley Neill Gin, Dead Man’s Fingers, JJ Whitley Vodka and Crabbie Whisky, and it will continue to focus on building these brands.

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