2 minute read - 26th May 2022
Clearly Drinks triples capacity and makes £6m investment
Soft drinks manufacturer Clearly Drinks has made a £6m investment in a new canning line – the largest investment in the company’s 135-year history.
The firm, which manufactures its own branded products as well as providing a contract bottling service to some of the industry’s biggest names, is expecting revenue to double this year after tripling its capacity to 160 million litres over the last three years.
The continued investment by the company into its Sunderland plant is part of a wider investment programme which has seen the company expand into new markets, differentiate from its competitors, increase sustainability and launch new product lines.
Mick Howard, chief executive, said: “To make such an investment during a pandemic was a brave and courageous decision however it is one that has really paid off for the business. Not only has it helped us bring new products to market but it has also seen our headcount exceed 100 employees and made the business much more agile. It’s a really exciting time for everyone involved with Clearly Drinks.”
Today, the company employs over 100 people and remains deep-rooted in the local community by creating apprenticeships for local people through its annual recruitment programme and supporting local charities such as the Salvation Army, as well as maintaining a strong working relationship with Sunderland College.
As well as investing in a state-of-the-art canning line, the company has also purchased a new pasteurisation unit and nitrogen dosing system which have led to the creation of 10 new jobs and helped the company land its largest contract to date with a national wholesaler.
The total investment, which is over £6.5m, was supported by the Sustainable Advanced Manufacturing (SAM) Project, which provided technical support to help the company integrate the new technology into its business, as well as a £50,000 grant towards the purchase of the new pasteurisation unit.
Mick continued: “The support from SAM was fantastic. The process was super-simple and allowed us to not only tap into funding to help de-risk our investment somewhat, but also receive the technical expertise required to ensure we maximise the potential of the new equipment and technology. For a business like us, in the current landscape, it can be quite hard tapping into funding and support when you’re looking to scale and the team at the SAM Project really went above and beyond to help us.”
The Sustainable Advanced Manufacturing (SAM) Project is a £10.9m collaboration between the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), the University of Sunderland and the Northern Powerhouse Initiative and Industry, supporting the implementation of product and process development and the introduction of technology within the SME manufacturing base in the North-East Local Enterprise Partnership (NE LEP) area.