Multi-million pound investment made in Sunderland bottling plant Clearly Drinks

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Sunderland-based soft drinks manufacturer, Clearly Drinks, has announced plans to invest in a new canning facility at its Southwick headquarters.

Set to be operational from March 2021, the multi-million pound canning line builds upon Clearly Drinks’ success in recent years, which led to 2019 becoming its best performing year in the business’ lengthy history with 54 million litres of waters and pop flowing out of its doors in Riverside Road.

Better known for its days as Villa Drinks, the Sunderland bottling plant has a history that dates back 135 years and some of its workforce, 90% of which are from the city, are into their fifth decade working for the factory.

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The multimillion-pound brownfield investment has been backed by private equity house, NorthEdge who invested in the company in 2018.

Clearly Drinks in SouthwickClearly Drinks in Southwick
Clearly Drinks in Southwick

The new soft drinks canning facility will be supplied by BW Integrated Systems, an industry leader in the design and manufacture of integrated packaging lines and robotic solutions.

Capable of producing 500 cans per minute and 30,000 cans per hour, the new line is expected to manufacture 160 million cans per annum.

Clearly Drinks will utilise its Northumbria Spring Water which is drawn directly from on-site boreholes, which are deep beneath the Southwick factory.

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Clearly Drinks has announced its premium soft drink, Upstream, which is aimed at adults, will be the first brand to be made using the new can line, with additional new products set to be announced later this year.

The bottling plant in Riverside Road, SouthwickThe bottling plant in Riverside Road, Southwick
The bottling plant in Riverside Road, Southwick

Mick Howard, Chief Executive Officer at Clearly Drinks, said: “Securing this investment with NorthEdge for our new can facility here at our Clearly Drinks factory in Sunderland allows us to diversify our offering and develop our product lines.

"We’ll start production with our popular consumer brand Upstream immediately and the machinery’s speed and efficiency will allow us to manufacturer other contract pack products and develop further opportunities with other brands which we’ll announce in due course.”

Established in 1885, Clearly Drinks offers a range of its own branded flavoured water including Perfectly Clear, Northumbria Spring and Revolution Waves, alongside an industry-leading contract bottling service including well-known customers such as Hartridges, Get More Drinks and Sainsburys private label.

Mick Howard, CEO of Clearly DrinksMick Howard, CEO of Clearly Drinks
Mick Howard, CEO of Clearly Drinks

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