Closure of wine merchant Inverarity Morton blamed on new drink-drive limit

Wine merchant Inverarity Morton has closed its regional depot in Milnathort, Kinross-shire. Picture: PA
Wine merchant Inverarity Morton has closed its regional depot in Milnathort, Kinross-shire. Picture: PA
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Scotland’s largest independent wines and spirits merchant is to close its regional depot in Milnathort, Kinross-shire, blaming the SNP’s new drink-driving laws.

All 29 employees at the Inverarity Morton (IM) depot, operated by are being offered posts at the firm’s new headquarters in Glasgow.

IM’s managing director, Stephen Russell, cited the lower drink-driving limit, cut from 35 microgrammes per 100 millilitres of breath to just 22 before Christmas 2014, one of the lowest limits in Europe, as a key factor in the decision.

He said: The last 12 months haven’t been easy for the licensed trade.

“A lot of businesses are counting the cost of the aftermath of the new drink-drive legislation in Scotland and continued slow economic recovery. Poor trading has had a knock-on effect on our business.”

The firm’s commercial director Ian Cumming said the drinks market in Scotland was down by 10 per cent as a result of the new drink-driving law.

He said: “Business from people having a pint after a round of golf or a glass of wine with a restaurant meal has been decimated.

“The whole industry has suffered and that has been a factor in our situation.”

The move follows a full business audit conducted to identify ways to cut costs without compromising service.

The Milnathort depot came with IM’s acquisition of Forth Wines in 2013.

Mr Russell said: “At the time of the acquisition, having a second depot was invaluable because we were bursting at the seams.”

IM will begin a consultation process with affected staff, hoping to minimise redundancies, and the company said there will be no net job losses across the business.

The management are looking at measures, including relocation packages, for the 29 Milnathort employees in telesales, admin, warehousing and marketing.

Some have up to 40 years’ service.

The closure will be phased between March and May, and the 75,000sq ft Milnathort site will eventually be put up for sale.