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Inverarity Morton set for expansion

One of Scotland’s largest independent drinks suppliers, Inverarity Morton, has confirmed plans for an expansion drive, including a concerted move south of the border.

Hamish Martin and Stephen Russell of Inverarity Morton

Following an acquisition deal last summer, which saw Inverarity Vaults sold to WM Morton, 2012 has seen the start of a £400,000 investment plan, including a rebranding exercise and the movement of all operations to the company’s base in Shawbridge, near Glasgow.

“It makes commercial sense to broaden our horizons,” remarked Inverarity Morton’s managing director, Stephen Russell, of the next step for the company, which currently has an annual turnover of over £50 million and a 150-strong workforce.

“Certainly in 2013 we will look to expand the business and that will be by acquisition too,” he confirmed.

In particular, Russell suggested that this acquisition path could be particularly relevant for the company’s Scottish growth, where it already supplies over 2,000 on-trade customers, including all the country’s Michelin-starred restaurants.

Thanks to an Inverarity employee who relocated to the south of England several years ago, the company already has a presence in this region.

However, Russell emphasised that for logistical reasons, the company would be focusing primarily on expanding “over a 200 mile radius” from its Glasgow base to open up areas such as Manchester and the Lake District.

“We wouldn’t come near London,” he added. “We couldn’t offer the service we do in Scotland.”

Highlighting the strength of a combined portfolio offering over 1,100 wines, Russell said: “A composite offering is important to an outlet and that’s what we can offer.

“There’s enough to satisfy any specialist – so we can do a 50-bin Spanish list for a tapas restaurant – but there’s also whisky, vodka and beer. It means the minimum disruption to their business and less admin,” he observed.

Although the acquisition brought with it the Inverarity One to One retail outlets in Glasgow and Edinburgh, as well as a bar by the same name in the Edinbugh Festival Theatre, Russell emphasised that the company would retain a wholesale focus.

“Other people out there do a great job in that area,” he said, adding: “and sommeliers always want different wines to the ones you find on the high street.”

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