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Distillery changes bottle due to uncertainty over supplier in Ukraine

Henstone Distillery has been forced to deviate from its classic bottle style upon discovering that its supplier in Ukraine was unable to provide a production date.

Credit: Twitter user HenstoneDistill

In a statement from the distillery, Shropshire-based Henstone notes that “when we approached our supplier for more bottles we were told they didn’t know the production date. As you can imagine this rang some alarm bells as a distillery without bottles is like a restaurant without food!”

It was only upon inspection of a previous order that they realised the manufacturer, Verallia, was making these particular bottles in Ukraine. On 28 February this year, Verallia (the world’s third largest producer of glass packaging) announced that production at its Zorya site in Ukraine would temporarily cease due to Putin’s invasion.

The announcement also mentioned that half of the EUR€50million in sales from the plant in Western Ukraine came from oversees orders. Verallia, headquartered in Paris, also said that “should the situation worsen, the Group would completely stop its production in a controlled manner that preserves the capital investment and allows the plant to be restarted at some point in the future.”

The original bottles, used by Henstone since March 2018, have been replaced with a more angular design to be used across the entire product line. This has necessitated redesigning labels, boxes and stoppers to fit the new bottles. Henstone co-founder Chris Toller tells db that the new supplier is German company Kefla. The distillery’s original statement concludes: “Hopefully in the future we’ll be able to return some of our business to the Ukraine.”

The Russo-Ukrainian War has emphasised the dependency of some sectors of the drinks industry on agriculture and industry in Ukraine. The dramatic decline in the country’s barley production has already had serious ramifications upon global beer prices. Inflation and the fuel crisis, worsened by the conflict, has contributed to a worldwide glass shortage, with some glassware manufacturers doing their bit to help spirits producers meet the demand.

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