Clearly drinks expands and creates jobs

Cllr Mel Speding, Sunderland City Council and Mark Bell, operations director at Clearly Drinks

Clearly drinks expands and creates jobs

Sunderland-based drinks and bottling company Clearly Drinks is creating new jobs and sales following its latest expansion.

The company has seen full-time employee numbers rise from 60 to 72, and the numbers of bottles produced by the plant grew from 52m bottles in 2015 to 69m bottles in 2016, with a target of 75m bottles by the end of 2017.

Clearly Drinks has taken over a 21,000 sq ft building at Riverside Road, Sunderland for warehousing and a new production line, and drilled a new borehole for its on-site spring, the Hadrian Well, which produces Northumbria Spring. 

The company rebranded from Contract Bottling to Clearly Drinks last November, Contract Bottling traded for seven years and before that it was known as Villa Drinks, which operated from the Sunderland site for 36 years. It is one of a small number of UK bottling companies which has its own spring on site, the Hadrian Well.

It is now looking to invest £1.5m in equipment, including a bottle blower to blow pre-forms which will speed up the operation and reduce the company’s carbon footprint.

Sunderland City Council’s business investment team is advising and supporting Clearly Drinks on the latest investment, and the company’s major shareholders, NorthEdge, are backing the move.

Clearly Drinks fills bottles with a range of drinks customers including B&M, Heron Foods, Costco, Nisa, Poundworld and Poundstretcher, Farmfoods and also Booker Cash.

It also produces over 4000 pallets of cordial which is shipped out to Saudi Arabia each year in glass bottles as a premium product.

Mark Bell, operations director at Clearly Drinks, said: “This has been one of our busiest years, buying a new building to create a new production line and warehousing, digging the borehole to futureproof the company, and producing record numbers of bottles for new and existing customers across the UK, Europe and Saudi Arabia.

“Our first-rate workforce is hugely important to our success. It means we produce delicious drinks, and we can turn round new orders remarkably quickly. We pride ourselves on our flexibility, high standards and always putting the customer first. We value the advice and support we have had from Sunderland City Council as we have grown. “

Councillor Mel Speding, cabinet secretary of Sunderland City Council said: “It’s great news that a Sunderland-based company is leading the UK, growing and prospering from its base in the city.

“Clearly Drinks is a new name for a well-established, respected company. The commitment and passion of its staff have won it loyal customers and record production levels this year. I’m delighted that Clearly Drinks’ success has led to more job opportunities and productivity in the city.”