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Greencroft on target to become largest UK bottling operation

Published:  14 January, 2019

Major investment by Lanchester Wine Cellars in its bottling subsidiary Greencroft is to see production boosted from 100 million litres in 2018 to a capacity of between 3-400 million litres by early 2020.

Construction is beginning on a new facility at Lanchester and Greencroft’s current County Durham site, with the building being designed from scratch as part of an ongoing £18 million investment in Greencroft and its equipment to deliver what the company describes as “the most modern bottling facility in Europe, if not the world”.

Greencroft and Lanchester grew by 25% and 10% respectively in their last financial year (to 30 June 2018), delivering a combined 23% increase in turnover to £79.6 million, with EBITDA £7.1 million.

Growth continued during the first four months of the new financial year (from July 2018), with the company tracking a further 20% increase in turnover.

The new facility is wholly financed by the parent Lanchester Wine Company, which remains a family-owned business, with founder Tony Cleary at the helm.

“We’ve worked hard over the last two years to implement significant strategic changes across our business, devoting considerable time and energy to drive positive change,” said Cleary.

Sustainability is very much at the core of that strategy, with Lanchester/Greencroft being at the forefront of renewable energy generation and technology, with solar and wind energy generated on site delivering 5.5 million Kwh of clean energy a year – far in excess of what the combined facilities will require, with the excess delivered into the national grid.

Other cutting-edge developments include the development of open loop water source heat pumps, with the first coming on line at Greencroft’s storage warehouses in 2019, which will work by transferring ground heat from the water in old mines to provide heat energy for the buildings.

“As a business, we continue to make choices about our long-term sustainability affecting not just today’s operations, but those of our future. We’re an ambitious business, continuously growing and we’ve already implemented measures to ensure our renewable energy generation covers the next stage of our expansion, set to break ground in early 2019,’ said Cleary, who to date has invested £9 million in renewable energy.

“And, we’re pioneering new technologies, such as world-changing heat pump technology at our warehouses in Gateshead, utilising energy stored in mine water. Due to launch this year, this will not only enable our customers to further reduce their carbon footprint, but also revolutionise how clean technology can be used in former mining areas across the world.”

The company is also introducing the UKs first wine canning line, which will look to capitalise on the nascent trend to canned wines, one which has firmly taken hold in the US.

In addition, 2018 witnessed new premium agencies from new regions joining the Lanchester portfolio, while the company’s export business has been on the increase, with a further push planned in that direction.