Drinks group ramping up production and recruiting apprentices

Dave Rigby (centre), directors Graham Gibson (left) and Mike Hughes (right), with team members
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Alcohol Solutions, a specialist in alcohol-based drinks development, distilling and packaging, is doubling production capacity at its Carrington-based site as a result of business growth from both on- and off-trade customers.

To support the reopening of UK hospitality and the return of outdoor events this summer, Alcohol Solutions has added another full-time shift pattern, allowing the business to double its production capabilities.

The business has also experienced a 100% increase in enquiries for its canning, bottling and labelling facilities due to the growth in demand for ready to drink (RTD) beverages, such as hard seltzers and canned cocktails, as lockdown restrictions have eased, allowing more people to socialise outdoors.

Managing director, Dave Rigby, said: “We’ve seen a change in consumer behaviour through lockdown. People have become more adventurous in their own homes with the likes of at-home cocktail kits and virtual masterclasses allowing them to try new drinks and flavour combinations.

“As a result, brands and retailers have stepped up their own development to capture the growing consumer appetite.

“The investment in our Carrington site has allowed us to establish a full range of alcohol services, from concept development to alcohol sourcing, distilling, canning and bottling, and means we’re perfectly placed to support businesses looking to entice customers with new and innovative products.”

Alcohol Solutions is also recruiting four new apprentices for a range of three-year apprenticeship positions from liquid development through to compliance and warehouse logistics as part of the Skills for Growth-SME Support Programme, in collaboration with apprenticeship specialist, Suzanne McNicholas.

The programme, which is run in partnership with GC Business Growth Hub and the Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce, commissioned by the Greater Manchester Combined Authority and funded by the European Social Fund, works with a network of education and commercial training providers to offer apprenticeships and training to Level 3 to degree level qualifications.

Graham Gibson, director at Alcohol Solutions, said: “As our business continues to grow, we want to attract new talent and create opportunities to inspire people that have been most affected by the jobs market during the pandemic.

“The Skills for Growth-SME Support Programme is a really valuable scheme and will allow us to offer practical training as well as recognised qualifications to candidates.”

Suzanne McNicholas, apprenticeship specialist from Skills for Growth-SME Support, said: “Graham and I talked at length about Alcohol Solutions’ apprenticeship recruitment plans and job descriptions, to make sure that we identified the right apprenticeship standards for each of the roles.

“I felt that Trafford College would be the best answer to their needs and referred Graham to them to discuss the next steps of the recruitment process, while in the meantime we began exploring the array of grants and funding together that is currently available through the Government scheme. I’m really excited to see where apprenticeships will take Alcohol Solutions and look forward to supporting the business with all of their future apprenticeship starts.”

Graham added: “Between the directors, we’ve over 50 years of experience in the drinks industry. This programme will allow us to share that knowledge and experience to educate the workforce of tomorrow, while also allowing us to tap into a demographic of consumers that will drive future trends in the industry so we can continue to offer the latest market innovation to our customers.”

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