Halewood forced to close US office due to Covid-19

Drinks manufacturer and distributor Halewood Wines & Spirits has said it will introduce voluntary redundancies, close its US operations and downsize its Australian business as Covid-19 hits the company “very hard”.

Stewart Hainsworth

Stewart Hainsworth, group CEO of Halewood, said the company had been “hit very hard financially by the impact of Covid-19”. In particular he singled out the collapse of the on-trade and also the “sizeable downturn” in export sales.

In order to safeguard jobs and secure the company’s future, he said that maker of Whitley Neill gin and Lambrini has been forced to make some tough decisions.

Hainsworth said: “As a business, Halewood Wines & Spirits remains committed to its successful strategy of building a range of artisanal spirits brands with strong provenance. However, like many companies, we’ve been hit very hard financially by the impact of Covid-19. We’ve lost important sales revenue from bars, restaurants and pubs across the UK and the duty-free trade, while also experiencing a sizeable downturn in export sales.

“We’ve taken immediate steps to safeguard jobs and attempt to secure the long-term future of a business founded over 40 years ago. Senior management are taking significant pay cuts and operations have been adjusted to reduce working hours and overheads.

“Regrettably the Covid-19 outbreak does mean we are introducing a scheme of voluntary redundancies and the closure of some sites. This includes closure of our operations in the US and downsizing our Australian business.

“We are looking at government measures to attempt to minimise the financial disruption caused by Covid-19 and will continue to take any steps we can to protect jobs and help steer the company through this difficult and uncertain period.”

It follows similar moves by companies such as BrewDog, which has announced that founders James Watt and Martin Dickie will forgo their salaries this year as part of a plan to protect the business against the impact of coronavirus.

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