Tyneside transport entrepreneur launches job-creating beer market venture

Paul Gurteen spotted a niche for "re-manufacturing" beer cooling systems used in pubs and venues

One of the Gurteen Transport fleet
One of the Gurteen Transport fleet

A Tyneside businessman aims to create up to six jobs in a new venture prompted by his discovery of a niche market within the beer sector.

Paul Gurteen, the founder and managing director of transport and recycling firm Gurteen, spotted demand among drinks and brewing companies for transportation and decommissioning of beer and soft drinks cooling equipment.

He now plans to launch a new venture from Gurteen’s Longbenton facilities where the “keg-to-font” cooling systems will be “re-manufactured” – a process which includes disassembly, inspection, cleaning and recommissioning.

Given the gases present in the systems, the remanufacturing process requires specialist equipment. Mr Gurteen has already bought plant to undertake the work, alongside the likes of drinks industry majors such as Innserve, Coca Cola and Britvic.

The new business is expected to begin trading in February 2015.

Mr Gurteen said: “Most of our existing work in this area has involved transporting these systems to and from festivals during the summer period.

“Through this work I began to realise that all the existing re-manufacturing operations were concentrated in the Midlands, and manufacturers would pay for remanufacturing and storage based on a radius of the existing facilities.

“It was becoming increasingly expensive for drinks companies to move their systems further north.

“That’s where I spotted the opportunity and now the plan is to give these firms a cost saving option to service their retailers further north, using the North East as a base.”

The venture, which has been forged in partnership with Gurteen’s landlords at Bellway Industrial Estate in Longbenton, will initially provide services to US-based food services giant Manitowoc.

With worldwide operations, Manitowoc supplies a range of beverage cooling systems. The technology passes the drinks through a chilled coil before they are served on tap.

Under the banner of Cooler Care Logistics Ltd, the new business will remove these units from pubs and other venues before processing them on Tyneside.

The move is expected to create between four to six initial jobs, with potential for more in the future, should the venture prove successful.

Mr Gurteen added: “This business is the culmination of some months of negotiation with one of our biggest customers. The activity will tie in with the business we already do together.”

Gurteen already employs 15 full time staff and two part-time staff, and provides transport, warehousing and stock management for a range of industries.

The business has been trading for three years, in which time it has built a fleet of ten vehicles, with ambitions to double that number in the next few years.

Gurteen’s turnover is expected to reach seven figures next year.

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