The board of Halewood International has paid tribute to the company's founder and CEO, John Halewood, who died over the weekend.

John Halewood, aged 64, died at his home on Saturday (15 October), the company announced today (17 October). The group's board of directors praised his skill in building and maintaining an array of successful drinks brands, including Crabbie's and Lambrini, over the past 30 years. 

Halewood was the majority shareholder in the Liverpool-based business. His death was unexpected, a spokesperson for the firm told just-drinks today. 

At an emergency board meeting this morning, directors paid "very full tributes" to Halewood's life and work. At the same time, the group spokesperson said that the board "would like to reassure all staff, customers and commercial partners that the board’s focus is on continuing to run a successful business at this sad time and ensuring a successful future for the organisation".

He added: "Over the years, John built an exceptionally strong board of directors and management team to run the company on his behalf, as you would expect of a business the size of Halewood International." 

Halewood International's MD, Andy Smallman, said: "At this time all our thoughts are with his family and friends to whom we have sent our heartfelt condolences. We would ask that the family's privacy be respected at this difficult time."