While few of us still awake to the clink of the early-morning milk delivery, Mick McQueen, founder and managing director of Glasgow-headquartered McQueens Dairies, is living proof that in some quarters at least the milk round is far from being a thing of the past.

Having started the milk production and distribution business with his wife Meg 21 years ago, former wine and spirits salesman Mr McQueen says the company’s turnover is currently growing by around 25 per cent each year, with recent expansions into England likely to be followed by further growth in Scotland in the future.

Noting that turnover for the year to the end of July was £11.5 million, Mr McQueen says that innovations in both the way milk is delivered and paid for have helped sustain the business.

“We still do glass bottles in about five per cent of our deliveries, but we were the first in the UK to do plastic bottles on the doorstep,” he says.

“They did really well. We started off doing them every second day and that allowed us to cover twice the area.

“We were also the first dairy to stop the doorstep collection, instead introducing payment by direct debit, which is now used by 94 per cent of our customers, with the rest paying online or by monthly account.”

Mr McQueen says that when the company first started introducing plastic bottles “there wasn’t much difference” between what his company was charging and the price of milk in the supermarkets.

With many supermarkets going on to slash the price of milk, the amount businesses such as McQueens charge can seem expensive in comparison.

However Mr McQueen, who admits that his product is significantly more expensive than supermarket milk, believes that consumers are not only willing to pay a premium for the convenience of home deliveries but to support their local economies too.

The fact that the company now has 50,000 customers, delivering to homes as well as business premises such as nurseries and offices, is testament to this.

“People are starting to realise that there is the price at which the supermarket sells, but maybe it’s better [to pay a company] that employs more people and keeps them off the dole,” he says.

Employing more people is certainly something that is on McQueens’ agenda, with the company expecting to increase its headcount from 200 to 300 within the next three years.

The company has form when it comes to expansion. Having started out with a single milk round in St Andrews in 1995, McQueens now has depots in Glasgow, Edinburgh and Fife, and last year it invested £1.5m in a new processing facility in Glasgow that came with the creation of 20 full-time jobs.

Recent expansion into England, where it opened a depot in Warrington in 2012, one in Huddersfield in West Yorkshire in 2014 and one in Mansfield in Nottinghamshire a year ago, has also boosted the business, although further headcount growth could come north as well as south of the border.

“We’re going to build up the depots that we’ve currently got then we’ll be expanding somewhere else, maybe further north in Scotland” Mr McQueen explains.

“Five years ago we had 30 employees and today we are just shy of 200. We have experienced 45 per cent growth year on year in staff numbers for the last five years and our aim is to grow by 50 per cent in the next three.

“Investing in our own processing facility provided us with the security of having control of the quantities of milk being produced and delivered and this allowed us to confidently expand our operations in Scotland and England.”

The other benefit of the processing plant is that McQueens is no longer just a distributor of milk, but a producer in its own right too.

“We started producing our own milk a year ago – we buy [raw] milk from companies such as First Milk then process it, bottle it and sell it,” Mr McQueen says.

Glasgow-headquartered farmers’ co-operative First Milk is 100 per cent owned by British family farms, something that fits with the ethos of McQueens, which is itself a family-owned and run concern. As the business grew so too did the McQueen family and now all five of Mr and Mrs McQueen’s children have prominent roles in the company.

Oldest son Ruairidh is sales director and Calum is commercial director, both based in Glasgow, while daughter Anna is a manager at the firm’s Warrington depot and sons Adam and Jamie both work as sales directors in England.

“A couple of them were very keen to be involved then, as they started to leave university, they all wanted to be part of the business because they saw it growing,” Mr McQueen says, adding: “We couldn’t have done it without the support of the public.”