Morecambe Bay Wines is to enter a new chapter in its 37-year history, as it unveils a new group brand, an increase in turnover to £24 million and the acquisition of a specialist craft beer company.
Established in 1984 by the Cross family, the drinks wholesaler has grown organically and has increased its turnover, developed a new brand to fuel its expansion into the wine market, and acquired Funky Brands Drinks Company for an undisclosed sum.
Sales for the Morecambe-based business have also increased, and as a result, the firm has recruited additional 32 employees. The company is also expecting to increase headcount in the coming months to service predicted demand.
The company will now be marketing its products under the new brand of Bay Drinks Group, the trading name of Morecambe Bay Wines Ltd.
Loic Cross, managing director of the newly enlarged group, said: “While the pandemic has provided challenges to our business and the wider industry, it provided us with an opportunity to evaluate our business and put in place growth plans.
“We’ve streamlined our operations and have invested in technology that will help us increase sales while researching markets that provide us with a unique opportunity for further growth. We created the Bay Drinks Group to offer our customers a much wider choice of product, and our enhanced size also brings purchasing power.”
Under the Bay Drinks Group brand sits the family’s award-winning brewery Cross Bay Brewing, newly created wine business Vinify Wines and the recently acquired Funky Brands Drinks Company.
Speaking about the launch of the wine brand, Loic added: “Ironically, although our original name was Morecambe Bay Wines, we didn’t focus heavily on that product. However, because of changing consumer trends and the demand for a wider range of quality products, we saw it as an opportunity to develop a business that would cater for this market.
“In answer, we created Vinify Wines and recruited specialist wine team headed up by Vicky Reid. Her remit is to grow the business and alongside providing specialist wines to trade customers, plans are in place to turn our attention to the consumer market.
“We’re also implementing plans to develop a direct-to-consumer offering for our Cross Bay Brewery brand too.
The management team is also looking to expand its footpring across the North and the North Midlands.
Loic concluded: “We’re optimistic about the future, but with the investment into the business in developing the group, new brands and companies, we’re very confident of achieving greater success.
“In some respects, it’s a bittersweet moment in replacing the Morecambe Bay Wines brand which has got us to where we are now, but with the establishment of the group, it enables us to access a wide range of products that will also help our leisure and hospitality clients build their businesses in the future too.”