Big brands sign up to ‘intelligent’ wholesaler


DIAGEO and C&C Group have become the latest big name drinks suppliers to sign up to Ooberstock.

The ‘intelligent’ drinks wholesaler, which is said to allow operators buying flexibility and to save costs by ordering online, has added Guinness and Magners to its growing roster of major brands.
Drinks from Heineken UK, Coca-Cola Enterprises, Britvic, Pernod Ricard, Bacardi Brown-Forman Brands, First Drinks, Maxxium UK and Whyte & Mackay are already available through Ooberstock, which aims to offer a more efficient alternative to ‘bricks and mortar’ wholesalers.
“Dealing with Ooberstock is a very different way of working compared with a normal wholesaler and when we get new brand owners [on board] we shout about it, and Diageo and C&C are absolutely key to that,” Arran Heal, founder and managing director of Ooberstock, told SLTN last week.
“As the biggest drinks company in the world, Diageo is always someone you want to do business with.”
Heal, who founded Ooberstock 16 weeks ago, said the business model offers brand owners numerous advantages.
“It’s a challenging marketplace, and the Ooberstock model gives brand owners a very different way of dealing with it,” Heal told SLTN.
“It gives them a lot more visibility, a lot more transparency through the supply chain and a lot less risk in dealing with a bricks and mortar wholesaler, because they own their stock within our network.
“The recent Waverley collapse is probably a case in point, where brand owners lost money because they weren’t credit insured and struggled to get retention of title claim on their own stock. With Ooberstock that would never have been an issue because they own it already so can come and get it. [Brand owners] can also target and seed distribution.”
Heal said that some 700 independents are already registered customers, with the business said to be meeting the targets Heal set on its launch in the summer.
The fact operators can make savings by ordering from Ooberstock online is seen as one of its key advantages, though customers can still place orders via its call centre in Leeds. But business owners also benefit by being able to order at any time, select their delivery times and receive deliveries up to five times a week, Heal said.
Such benefits look set to come into their own as the trade deals with the potentially hectic Christmas period.
“Equally, rather than placing your order on the phone at two o’clock in the afternoon, you should be serving your customers,” Heal told SLTN.
“It’s the ability to be able to order when you want, as often as you want, and take delivery when you want it, which suits your business needs.
“That will be different for everyone and every retailer, but the flexibility is there.
“And the fact that you can select your delivery day with Ooberstock means you don’t necessarily have to have as much stock as you previously would have done with a weekly or two-weekly order, which will give you a cash flow benefit of not having cash held up in your cellar.
“At a key trading time like Christmas, demand is often a little uncertain in terms of how your retail sales are going to go. No one quite knows what the consumer will do, so it gives you more flexibility, rather than loading up your cellar with stuff you have a risk of not selling.”

Image – Arran Heal said Ooberstock is progressing according to plan since its launch around 16 weeks ago.