Inverarity Morton buys Forth Wines

Customers will benefit from greater choice and improved logistics, says MD

Inverarity Morton goes Forth
• Going Forth (from left): Ian Cumming, Donald Campbell and Stephen Russell.

By Gillian McKenzie

WHOLESALER Inverarity Morton has snapped up Milnathort-based Forth Wines in a seven-figure deal.

The acquisition, which comes two years after Inverarity Morton was formed by the merger of William Morton and Inverarity Vaults and less than a year after it bought premium spirits supplier LA Wholesale, will give the enlarged firm around 4000 licensed trade customers and a portfolio of up to 2000 wines.
Speaking to SLTN, Inverarity Morton MD Stephen Russell said the two companies will continue to operate independently until the new year.
There is a “great chance” the Forth Wines name will then disappear, he said, as “the reality is we need to trade as one entity”.
It’s Russell’s fourth attempt to buy Forth Wines, having first tried to acquire it with William Morton some 20 years ago.
The enlarged company will service trade customers from two depots – Inverarity’s Glasgow base and Forth’s 75,000 sq ft site at Milnathort – and have a total workforce of 200, including 40 sales reps. Russell said there will be “no net job losses”.
Two of the four directors, who bought Forth from Matthew Clark in 2010, will move to the enlarged company; Ian Cumming will join as commercial director with Alan Cramond assuming the role of finance director.
The deal will also see Inverarity sales director Donald Campbell re-establish his link with Forth, where he worked for 20 years.
Russell said the enlarged company will benefit from improved logistics and offer trade customers greater choice.
“Forth just now has about 1100 to 1200 [wines] and we’ve got about 1200 so we’ll merge the portfolios to have between 1800 and 2000 wines,” he said.
“Having a second depot in Milnathort will make a big difference to our logistics operation by helping reduce road miles and improve delivery schedules.
“We will be far better placed to service customers throughout the whole of Scotland.
“In this trade people deal with people and each of us has got great people.”