Halewood International

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Halewood International Ltd
IndustryAlcoholic beverages
FounderJohn Edward Halewood
HeadquartersThe Sovereign Distillery, Huyton Business Park, Wilson Road, Merseyside, L36 6AD, England
Area served
ProductsGinger beer, perry, cider, fortified wines, vodka, gin, rum, liqueurs and 'alcopops'/rtds
Revenuec.£158 million
OwnerThe Estate of the late John Edward Halewood
Number of employees
SubsidiariesHalewood International South Africa Pty Ltd
Chalié, Richards & Co.
Halewood Romania
WebsiteHalewood International

Halewood International is a manufacturer and distributor of alcoholic beverages in Merseyside.


It is headquartered west of Tarbock Island, the M62/M57/A5300 junction, off the A5080 and opposite the Chapel Brook Brewers Fayre.[1] There are 400 people on the 30 acre site in Merseyside.

Through its subsidiary it has 400 hectares (990 acres) of vineyards in Romania.[2] In South Africa since 1999, it has a manufacturing site and various distribution points.[3] It has an interest in a Chinese joint venture and licences the production of its products in other territories. It exports to more than 50 countries.


  • Crabbie's – Ginger Beer, Ginger Wine, John Crabbie's (a soft drink) and other products
  • Lambrini
  • Red Square Vodka
  • Caribbean Twist
  • Whitley Neill gin
  • Kirov vodka

The company also distributes:


The company was founded in 1978 by John Halewood (2 May 1947 – 15 October 2011 and father of at least 4 children) as Halewood Vintners. It is known as the UK's largest independent drinks manufacturer and distributor.[citation needed] The company headquarters moved to Huyton from Roberttown, West Yorkshire in 1993. John Halewood died in October 2011,[4] he is survived by four children and three grandchildren (possibly more).

Upon his death the majority of his fortune was left to his youngest child and long-term girlfriend Judy Eaton (who changed her name to Halewood).

As of 2011 Halewood International Ltd was the UK’s largest independent drinks manufacturer and distributor with a turnover in excess of £270 million, and more than 1,000 employees worldwide.

From its headquarters at the Sovereign Distillery in Wilson Road, the company controls operations in South Africa, Romania and China, and as well as manufacturing its own brands and products. John Halewood started his working life in the Liverpool drinks trade, working for a local company – Hall & Bramley Ltd. ‘H&B’ had been founded in 1860 by prominent local businessman Charlton R Hall. By 1892 the firm was based in Orange Street and was one of the most noted wholesale wine and spirit houses in the city. On the founder’s death in 1900 his son Charlton Hall junior took into partnership William Foulkes and JT Bramley. Hall & Bramley became a limited company in 1910 when two senior staff Harold Roughsedge and George Coonan acquired a major stake in the firm: they, and their sons, would run the firm for many decades thereafter. The firm eventually relocated to the Racecourse Industrial estate at Aintree.

John was born on the Wirral in Wallasey to an Irish mother Eileen, and a father, John 'Jack' Halewood who was a naval officer and engineer, apparently responsible for the invention of the timed and dimmer light switches.

Despite Liverpool being Halewood's home the genesis of the business took place in West Yorkshire, specifically the village of Horbury the area where John Halewood was living whilst he worked for González Byass, a sherry shipper. The development of his British Winery was the first opportunity John Halewood had to produce products ‘in house’; but because of the lack of bottling capacity the finished wine had to be bottled in Kirkby and then shipped back to Yorkshire for storage and distribution.

During this period the sales force began to expand – originally the ‘sales force’ was simply John Halewood himself – along with finance and administration staff supporting the sales staff's efforts. In the 1980s Halewood purchased what is the oldest wine merchant in the United Kingdom, Chalié Richards & Company, which was founded in St. James's in London in the year 1700 and over the years received a number of Royal Warrants. The history of Chalié Richards began in 1685 when the Chalié family fled from Montauban to Holland after the revocation of the Edict of Nantes in 1685. Brothers James and John, already connected with the wine trade, soon came to London and established the business of ‘Wine Merchants, General Merchants and Bankers’. They took premises in Mincing Lane and had their cellars next door under the Clothworkers Hall. Their wine business grew rapidly, and gained the reputation of ‘One of the finest corners of the metropolis’. Anecdotes abound concerning famous or aristocratic customers whose ability to order wines far exceeded their ability to pay. The playwright Richard Brinsley Sheridan was one such customer, with apparently a good taste in Burgundy, Port and old Hock. A shipping record of 1785 shows that, out of a total of 1423 hogsheads of Claret shipped to London, Chalié shipped 295, more than twice as many as any other trader. In the early nineteenth century, Matthew Chalié (son of James) was joined by William Parry Richards. With Richards’ arrival began a tradition of royal patronage, which was to last well over a century. In fact, the house of Chalié was to supply the six successive monarchs from George IV through to George VI. In 1820 five pipes of Port were delivered to Carlton Palace ‘for the use of His Majesty’. In 1837, the year of accession of Queen Victoria, one of the first acts performed by her Lord Steward was the appointment of Matthew Chalié as purveyor of wines and spirits to Her Majesty. By the end of the century, Chalié Richards and Company, as it had become known, had moved into large and spacious premises at 4 Pall Mall East, and maintained magnificent cellars in the Strand, within the royal precinct of the Savoy. Chalié is the brand owner of Eisberg the brand leading de-alcoholised wine – an ideal alternative for people who enjoy the taste and style of wine, but who for whatever reason – perhaps expectant mothers or designated drivers – choose not to drink at that particular time.

As bottling the wine took place in Merseyside, it made sense to look to relocate the business in that area. In 1993 the present Halewood site in Huyton was purchased (or rather part of what is the present site) The move to Liverpool saw the development of what became Halewood's largest brand, Lambrini. Although this wasn't the first of the Halewood products to receive television support it was certainly the first to receive national advertising support, along with poster and radio advertising. Red Square Vodka was also developed into a leading brand vodka along with its ready to drink (RTD) flavoured counterparts. Wines from Eastern Europe have featured significantly in the development of the Halewood Group. John Halewood was one of the first shippers of Bulgarian Wine into the United Kingdom, and achieved early distribution through Asda supermarkets. Because of competition from the Bulgarian state Halewood moved to Romania.

Despite the difficulty in doing business with a Communist state (during Ceausecu's reign), John was still able to build a significant volume of business bringing Romanian wines into the UK, and indeed at one time sales exceeded one million 9-litre cases. With the fall of communism in 1989, Halewood along with Pernod Ricard and a German wine importer, formed the first joint venture between western and Romanian companies. Since then Halewood has bought land and developed vineyards in all the key growing areas, as well as developing some of the wineries into tourist attractions. The Group had become the largest exporter of Romanian wines to Britain and now owns three subsidiaries in Romania. The Group manages over 400 hectares in three major wine areas: Dealu Mare, Podisul Transilvaniei and Murfatlar. The average annual wine production is 42,000 hl.

Crabbie's Alcoholic Ginger Beer, launched in February 2009, has been the most successful product launch the Group has ever enjoyed. The original Crabbie's Ginger Wine had been in the company portfolio for some time. John Crabbie & Co was established in 1801 in Leith in Scotland. To maintain the connection between Crabbie's and the local community.


  • In the 2013–2014 company accounts the business made a £400k profit on sales of £227m
  • In the 2014–2015 company accounts the business made a £6m loss on sales of £188m
  • In the 2015–2016 company accounts the business made a £1.2m profit on sales of £158m[5]


  1. ^ Chapel Brook
  2. ^ Halewood Romania
  3. ^ Halewood International South Africa (Pty) Ltd
  4. ^ Drinks firm founder John Halewood dies
  5. ^ "Halewood International – Full accounts". Companies House online.[dead link]

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