Scottish chain set for 50 outlets
Published:  17 September, 2010

A new off-licence group in Scotland is aiming to have around 50 stores running within two years.

Brand Invest Group has taken over 21 former First Quench stores, 11 of which are already trading under the name Wine­house and six as Cellar No 1. Five more Winehouses and another Cellar No 1 will open by the end of October.

The company describes Winehouse as a “wine-led, mid-market specialist”, with Cellar No 1 in “mainstream off-sales”. The move ends a four-year quest to enter the off-licence sector.

A deal to use venture capital backing to buy 254 shops from then-First Quench owner Terra Firma fell through in 2006.

A further attempt was made to buy 196 stores from Vision Capital – the First Quench owner at the time it entered administration – with the backing of a private investor in the summer of 2009.

The acquisition of the 21 stores for the current venture has been made with the backing of Clydesdale Bank.

Co-founder George MacRitchie said: “The demise of First Quench created a gap in the market. We are very positive and reassured by the number of independents that have entered the sector over recent months and the results posted.”?Business partner Philip Craig said

Winehouse would focus on “wines from small to medium-size growers rather than mass-market brands that can be bought from supermarkets”. Cellar No 1 would tap into the Winehouse range for “customers who want something more exclusive”.

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