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Visit to Belhaven's new Alloa Distribution Depot - Tuesday 17th May 2005

Sarah Grant explaining how Belhaven distributes its productsd

Sarah Grant explaining how Belhaven distributes its products, in front of one of the distribution lorries.

© John G. Fender, 2011

The Scottish Region of the Chartered Institute of Logistics and transport visited the new Alloa distribution depot of the Belhaven Brewery and were given a presentation and tour of the depot by Jim Robertson, Distribution Manager & Sarah Grant, Customer Services Manager.

Belhaven originally acquired premises in Alloa with the take over of MacLays Brewery in 2001 when MacLays retreated from brewing to concentrate on managing its chain of public houses. Belhaven took over 100% of the MacLays customer base and half of the employees, together with the premises.

However, MacLays had a ''break clause" on the lease And this was invoked in 2004, as MacLays wanted to sell the land requiring Belhaven to seek alternative premises. Traditionally, Belhaven leased its premises and vehicles and it was expected that this policy would continue. However, in the event It was decided to purchase land for the new depot and this would be sited to enable the West of Scotland to be served.

Several possible sites were identified with a site at Dumyat, Alloa being the best option. Unfortunately, Clackmannan Council decided not to sell the land so Belhaven entered into an agreement with British Coal for a site at Castlebrldge. It then transpired that British Coal decided not to sell its site so further locations had to be considered. In the meantime a warehouse at Larbert had been leased in case it was needed, but this was felt to be too remote. Then came some good news. Clackmannan Council had decided to sell the land at Dumyat, near Alloa after all, and Belhaven acquired the site and was able to build its new depot starting with a clean sheet.

Scotia, who had designed and built the Harviestoun brewery were recommended to undertake the same design and build function. The new depot was designed will expansion in mind and a 6 month timescale was established to build the depot and a Quantity Surveyor appointed to oversee the work. Once work commenced adverse weather held up progress but the tlmescale was met with the depot opening for business on 8 November 2004.

The Belhaven Brewery has achieved double digit growth for the last 14 years and their flagship brand, Belhaven Best, currently holds some 13% of the Scottish ale market and the 100 millionth pint was recently dispensed. Belhaven produces 65,000 barrels of beers per annum and also brews beers on behalf of other brewers such as Calders and Harviestoun. Belhaven also handles distribution of around 40,000 barrels per annum of beers for Interbrew, consisting mainly of Tennent's Lager and Some 70% of sales are factored for other companies. This results in some 400 different product lines being carried and members were able to see the variety of drinks in the warehouse.

The Scottish Region wished to express its thanks to Jim Robertson and Sarah Grant for taking the time to show the members around and for the buffet.

Report by John Fender.


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