The investment will enable the drinks firm to produce isotonic beverages – sports style drinks containing similar concentrations of salt and sugar as in the human body – for the own-label market for the first time on the island of Ireland.
Supported by a capital grant from Invest Norther Ireland, this latest venture followed a significant string of investments by the company in recent years, which have seen Classic Mineral Water increase capacity and efficiency and reduce production costs.
Liam Duffy, chief executive and owner of Classic Mineral Water, said: “Through investment in innovative technology and skills we have transformed Classic Mineral Water into a high-speed, state-of-the-art, soft drink processing facility and have achieved a six-fold increase in sales to £12m in just a few years.
Next growth phase
“This latest investment, which includes the installation of a new pasteurisation system, supports our next growth phase, enabling us to respond to market demand for high-value isotonic products. We are confident that this will push our overall sales up significantly, reaching over £20m by 2024, and vastly increase our productivity.”
The investment will create 16 jobs, bringing the company’s total employment figure to 76, with 10 of the new jobs already in place.
Classic Mineral Water is reportedly the oldest water bottling company on the island of Ireland and approved supplies to Aldi, Lidl, Dunnes Stores, Musgraves, Bestways and Tesco. It recently announced that it has signed a new £3.8m deal with Aldi Ireland.
Strong sales position
Invest NI director of Food & Drink John Hood added: “This investment has enabled Classic Mineral Water to manufacture a high value-added product and to increase output and productivity. It positions it strongly to increase sales into Great Britain and the Republic of Ireland, potentially resulting in a 70% increase in turnover.
“Through a range of support, Invest NI has helped the company to develop the infrastructure, expertise and support systems that are essential to enable it to realise its vision of becoming a major player in export markets.”
Meanwhile, vegetable processor and packer Frederick Hiam Foods has reduced energy and water consumption and significantly improved efficiency thanks to an investment in new machinery at its Suffolk-based site.