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2018 has been an exceptional year of new beginnings at United Wines; the company completed its first full year since integrating HEINEKEN® Northern Ireland into its business, undertook a major refurb of its offices, as well as launching its first rebrand in over 30 years.

“The integration of HEINEKEN® Northern Ireland into United Wines has been seamless,” says Martin. “Everybody has embedded into their roles and the results speak for themselves. We’ve had over 250 new taps installed this year, which is a significant increase on 2017, and Orchard Thieves® is already the number two cider on draft according to AC Nielsen.

“Distributing these brands has opened many doors for us, aiding the growth of our own agency brands such as McGuigan Wines and Whitley Neill Gin. 2018 has surpassed our expectations in
so many ways.”

The success of the business has led to a growth in workforce, with United Wines now employing over 60 people. Consequently, there has been a need to expand office space. In November, United Wines undertook a major rebrand. “We have invested in extending our site, building modern, high quality offices which can accommodate our growing staff numbers,” he says.

“As an op co of HEINEKEN®, the new branding and indeed our newly adopted values and behaviours, reflect the modern and progressive company we are. It was probably one of the biggest decisions we have made, but the right one, and we are delighted with the
result.”

With a successful 2018, Martin and the United Wines team are looking ahead to 2019. “With a great deal of unknowns ahead in the New Year, we are hoping for the best but preparing for the worst,” says Martin. “We believe in being prudent, ensuring we have forecasted enough stock to get us through the first few months of 2019. We have invested in more bonded warehouse space, making
sure our customers’ needs are met. We feel that the cost of maintaining that business, outweighs letting our customers down.”

Once through that initial period of uncertainty, Martin predicts 2019 will continue to witness growth for United Wines. “We believe Heineken® and Orchard Thieves® will continue to grow,” he says. “The gin phenomenon looks set to continue, with Whitley Neill, Caorunn and Muff gaining share.”

The ‘no alcohol’ category, driven by the successful launch of Heineken® 0.0, is an area which Martin believes will flourish in 2019. “Heineken® 0.0 has been a massive success, not only in the UK and Ireland but also in Europe,” he says. “Freixenet has just launched a non-alcoholic sparkling wine and our wine principals are viewing this category as an opportunity for growth.”

Supported by a highly-motivated, skilled workforce, Martin is optimistic that the momentum from 2018 will continue into 2019. “I believe momentum breeds success. There is great camaraderie and atmosphere in our business and I genuinely believe we are well prepared for 2019 and I am looking forward to an exciting, innovative and dynamic year.”

And with the backing of major global company HEINEKEN®, the future looks secure for United Wines. “Our message to our customers is a big thank you for all the business over the last 33 years – we hope to grow your business as we grow ours,” says Martin.

“We are well prepared and looking forward to 2019.”

For more information on working with United Wines call 028 3831 6555

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