December 5 2013 Latest news:
Ben Woods, Business writer
Wednesday, October 2, 2013
Broadland Wineries has poured fresh investment into launching its own brand of imported wines after an industry shake-up forced the business to change its operations.
The Cawston-based firm has recruited a team of wine experts, increased its range of imported wines, and is installing a new bottling line, as it shifts away from packaging products, towards sourcing, bottling and distributing its own brands.
The move caters to a change in behaviour from its suppliers, which prefer firms offering an end-to-end service, rather than managing its supply through wine agents.
Mark Lansley, chief executive, said the change had driven down the money it spends on wine agents, which had helped improve its margins.
And he confirmed the company had now returned to being a privately owned company, after paying off a £3m debt owed to creditors from when it collapsed into administration back in March 2006.
He said the business was looking to exploit opportunities in the low-alcohol market, and is gearing up for a relaunch of its e-commerce website in the coming weeks.
He said: “We worked as a contract bottler for years where our wine agents would talk to the supermarkets, which would define a need and determine what they wanted. The agent would then find the wine and come to us to see how much it would cost to pack it.
“But with the world of the internet, the discussions are becoming more open and the agents are getting squeezed.
“We are now absorbing the role of the agent, and are specialising in importing wines from abroad and bottling them.
“And as we absorbed the role, we had to look at taking on more full-time staff, which has meant we have now grown from 60 in 2006 to 108 today.”
The recruitment process has seen the company take on Dr Arabella Woodrow as its master of wine, while David Thornhill will become business development director from January, with Peter Bisley replacing his role as sales director.
Meanwhile, the company expect to opens its new bottling line in February, which will allow it to produce miniature plastic and glass bottles.
Mr Lansley said turnover for the business reached about £33m this year and he expected pre-tax profits would remain around the £1m mark going forward.
But he said it would be a few years before the company paid corporation tax, due to the relief it received when it was making a loss.
He said: “As a company which has come out of administration, we are not taking anything for granted. We are doing well and we have a fantastic team. We will continue to evolve with new technologies and provide better wines, with the possibility of some joint ventures going forward.”
Broadland Wineries also produces a range of fruit wines, ciders and perries.
Two hundred jobs are set to be created after one of west Norfolk’s largest businesses was granted permission to expand its King’s Lynn facilities.