UK glass bottle manufacturer and filler Encirc plans to build a national distribution hub for the UK and European drinks industry.

It is anticipated the fully automated ‘mega hub’ will be built within the next three years and will mark a step forward in the evolution of glass packaging supply chains in the UK.

While the exact location is yet to be confirmed, the hub will have around 170,000 pallet storage spaces for customers’ bottles filled at Encirc’s Cheshire plant, as well as others which have been filled elsewhere, and imported to the UK.

Encirc’s parent company, Vidrala, is planning to invest around £75 million in the hub, which will feature robotic case picking, with the prepared pallets able to be delivered directly to retailers across the UK and Europe.

By going straight to retail and reducing the reliance on regional distribution centres, the hub is set to reduce lorry movements nationwide and achieve carbon savings across supply chains in the UK.

The hub will complement Encirc’s existing automated warehouse in Elton, UK which is one of the largest of its kind in Europe with more than 250,000 pallet spaces.

Adrian Curry, Managing Director at Encirc, said: “Our new national distribution hub will represent the evolution of drink supply chains in the UK and Europe.

"This will be a huge leap forward for how the UK drinks industry imports and distributes key brands.

Encirc recently declared its intention to increase its wine filling capacity by more than 75 million litres per year, while also stating it plan to decarbonise its furnaces by beginning to use sustainable fuels, such as hydrogen, in its melting process.

These plans form an integral part of developments which will create more than 200 new jobs at Encirc over a number of years.