New era for two of Scotland’s drinks suppliers


SIX months after announcing the merger between Inverarity Vaults and Wm Morton, managing director Stephen Russell today (27th February 2012) laid out a new vision for the company; the first stage of a £400,000 planned investment in the business, which will see all operations move to the company’s Shawbridge (Glasgow) headquarters.

Emerging after a full rebranding exercise is the company’s new trading name, Inverarity Morton.  Speaking ahead of the launch in Edinburgh of Inverarity Morton’s newly completed wine portfolio, Mr Russell explained why the name was chosen.

“There is so much intrinsic value in the individual names and what they represented that I did not wish to strip away any of that in the rebrand,” he said.  “We wanted to make a positive and deliberate statement with the name change.  It is the fusion on an equal footing of two established and successful businesses to make an even stronger force in the licensed trade and we are looking forward to what this new era will bring.”

The rebrand is the start of a £400,000 planned investment over 2012 for the business, which is now one of Scotland’s largest independent drinks distributors with a combined turnover of over £50m and workforce of 150.  All back office, stock management and delivery software systems will be upgraded and new vehicles added to the fleet.

Savings will be made across other areas of the business with the closure of the Symington depot, which had been home to Inverarity Vaults for over a decade, and the loss of three members of staff in admin support.  Mr Russell said the decision was unanimous among the Board, with Hamish Martin, Inverarity’s founder, agreeing it was in the best interests of the company.

Mr Russell added: “When we merged the companies six months ago, we chose to trade as two separate businesses over the short term so we could assess where efficiencies could be made in the future.  It would have been counter-productive to rush through changes without first conducting a ‘health check’ if you like of both operations.

“We have now completed this assessment and drawn two conclusions: we are overstaffed in certain areas of the business and it is unnecessary for us to continue to run two distribution depots.”

He continued: “It was a tough but essential decision and Hamish is 100% on side.  He wants to see Inverarity Morton thrive, not just survive, and supports these measures because they will help us get into the best possible shape to meet future growth plans.”

Since the deal was announced in July 2011, the company has managed to retain all of its 2,000 plus clients, which include the Di Maggio’s and G1 groups and all Michelin-starred restaurants in Scotland.

In 2010 Wm Morton – the wholesale drinks subsidiary of A Bulloch (Agencies) – reported an annual turnover of £46m, up 10%YOY.  Inverarity Vaults, a specialist fine wine merchant, turned over £8.2m, a rise of 11% on the previous year.  The two businesses were among the most established independent drinks suppliers in Scotland: Wm Morton has been trading since 1945 and Inverarity since 1991.