Guernsey brewery to take over island’s duty-free
Saturday 27th October 2012, 10:00AM BST.
ALDERNEY’S duty-free concession is to be run by the St Peter Port-based firm that runs the facility at Guernsey Airport.
Wine & Beer Importers (Guernsey) Ltd is a subsidiary of Randalls Brewery and it will take over the running of Alderney duty-free from 1 November for 10 years. The company was appointed by the States of Alderney after the Policy & Finance Committee decided earlier this year that they would put the opportunity to operate the concession out to tender.
But only one application was received.
Alderney duty-free has been run for 17 years by Basil Blumberg, who owns the Rose & Crown pub and off-licence, and the contract was renewed on an annual basis.
Mr Blumberg, who had made no secret of his desire to hand over the reins of the duty-free concession to fresh hands, had volunteered to operate it for another year, to ensure a smooth handover to a new party but did not tender for the work. He expressed his disappointment that the concession had not been taken up by an Alderney entrepreneur. His main concern, he said, was that it was run with the same commitment and vigour as it would be by someone from or living on the island.
‘When we were into the last year the States made it plain they were not going to extend it any further, and that they were going to go out to tender for it,’ Mr Blumberg explained. ‘We weren’t asked if we wanted to go on with it. I would have been willing to come to an arrangement and continue for another year.’
He added: ‘For us it wasn’t only about profits. The original concept was as an extra factor for tourism for the island, and that’s what I hope it remains.
‘Duty-free is such an important piece of the jigsaw in both keeping tourism and building tourism here, so I had hoped the new person running it would be someone involved with the island, someone living in Alderney whose heart and soul is on the island would probably fight harder to make it work.
‘I don’t quite see how someone running it from Guernsey could put the same effort in.’
States chief executive Roy Burke said: ‘The reason it went out to tender was to get best value for the island. The current operators indicated they didn’t want to do it any longer.’
Randalls will pay the States £25,000 per year plus 5% of any turnover that is more than £120,000.
A spokesman said they were working hard to ensure they were up and running by 1 November.
‘We are absolutely delighted to take on Alderney duty-free and it’s our intention to revamp the shop and provide a wider range of products,’ he said. ‘We have the stock to do that. We were in Alderney last week and we will be there in the following weeks to ensure a smooth transition.