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Tortuga Logistics on outsourcing drink brand logistics

April 28, 2022 by Joel Davidge

Let’s face it, as a drinks brand founder or entrepreneur, your initial thoughts are likely not going to be about whether to outsource your drink brand logistics.

It’s likely your brain is fully occupied with product development or branding.

However, deciding on your fulfillment methods is vital if you want to scale.

Operating in the industry for over 10 years, we’ve taken a hybrid approach – using our own in-house fulfillment team for some projects, and outsourcing certain projects via our network of trusted partners.

We chatted to Andrew Hargreaves from Tortuga Logistics about why emerging drinks brands need to consider outsourcing.

Tell us a little about Tortuga Logistics and the team behind it?

Tortuga facilitates the back office for independent drinks brands.

This means we look after stock, storage, distribution, orders, duty, invoicing, credit control, credit insurance and much more.

We have a team who have decades of experience in the drinks industry who understand all the legal and technical requirements.

The drinks industry is heavily regulated and you need licences to perform certain tasks which creates a barrier to entry which might put potential brands off getting involved.

At Tortuga we aim to help remove those barriers for our clients.

What do owners need to consider when contemplating outsourcing drink brand logistics?

Outsourcing should be cost neutral if not cost saving.

If you can do it cheaper and better yourself why would you even bother looking?

Outside of cost, you want any change in your business to free up time and resource for you to focus on developing your brand and growing demand.

You need to be confident that by outsourcing elements of your operation you are not compromising on quality or service because it’s your brand reputation on the line.

What is the most important thing a drink brand can do when looking at UK-wide distribution?

ACCESS! Does your distributer have access to the most important accounts for your product and do they have the flexibility and capability to handle the biggest retailer or the smallest wholesaler?

What issues have you faced over the past few years (Brexit, Pandemic etc.) and how did you overcome these?

The biggest issue with Brexit was the lack of clarity of what the rules would be once the agreements were finalised.

We had to work hard to ensure that all of the checks and measures were in place and the correct paperwork was done.

We’d done a lot of work looking at the possible and most likely scenarios so we did have a good idea about what would be needed.

Thankfully many of the changes have been implemented in stages which has allowed the industry to manage.

However, the disruption was amplified by the arrival of the pandemic, this impacted inbound and outbound trade as so many operators were forced to close their businesses for long periods.

I don’t think we are near to being over all of the impact yet, whether it’s raw material prices or driver shortages all businesses need to be prepared to adapt to a very different environment to what we have been used to.

This year, as we were all hoping for some relief, we are now seeing massive increases in commodities which no doubt will have huge knock on effects to businesses and consumers.

Any tips for people looking to move into the logistics sector?

Logistics is not just vehicles.

When you consider the end to end process and all the steps involved your focus must be on the needs of your customers.

Your job is to make your customer’s life easier not harder – it might be a cliché but it remains true, if you’re not looking after your customer someone else will.

No one person can do everything so it is essential that you are supported by a competent and motivated team.

You now have years of experience in outsourcing drink brand logistics. What do you wish you knew when you started out?

I’m not really one for looking back with regret, things happen that are mostly outside of our control, remaining flexible and open to learning will help us deal with whatever comes along.


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