NorthEdge supports new canning facility investment for Clearly Drinks

Private equity-backed soft drinks manufacturer Clearly Drinks is to invest in a new canning facility at its Sunderland headquarters following support from NorthEdge.

The multi-million-pound investment is set to provide state-of-the-art canning capabilities, designed by BW Integrated Systems, allowing Clearly Drinks to manufacture 160 million cans each year. This will enhance Clearly Drinks’ product offering and packaging flexibility, allowing it to widen its customer base which currently includes Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Booker and One Stop. 

The investment follows NorthEdge’s backing in 2018 and is designed to support Clearly Drinks in its ambitious growth plans. The facility will build on the business’ continued expansion over the last 18 months which includes the re-launch of Perfectly Clear and Northumbria Spring, the launch of premium adult soft drink Upstream, the acquisition of Revolution Waves, and the winning of several new contracts including One Stop and Bestway.
It also supports the business’ aim of improving its sustainability by minimising single-use and virgin plastic. By the end of 2020 Clearly Drinks aims to reduce its plastic usage by 160 tonnes through a combination of weight reduction initiatives and product redesign. The canning process will also use its Northumbria spring water – drawn directly from on-site boreholes at its headquarters.
Upstream, Clearly Drink’s premium adult soft drink brand, will be the first to be made using the new can line, with new products due to be announced later this year.
Mick Howard, Chief Executive Officer at Clearly Drinks, says: “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 manufacture other contract pack products and develop further opportunities with other brands which we’ll announce in due course.”
Lloyd Williams, Director at NorthEdge, adds: “The addition of canning capabilities plays an important role in the next phase of growth at Clearly Drinks. The canning line complements the existing PET and glass offering to make the business a unique multi-format manufacturer in the sector. We are very excited about the future at Clearly Drinks and are proud of the hard work Mick and the team have put in over the last 18 months to position the business as the manufacturer of choice.
“This investment is further evidence of our continued support of businesses across our portfolio, despite the challenging economic climate. It follows bolt-on acquisitions for Orbis Protect and Catalis Group which, alongside this investment for Clearly Drinks, are set to support the next stage of growth for these businesses.”
NorthEdge manages over GBP650 million of private equity funds aimed at lower-mid market buy-out and development capital transactions and looks to invest in businesses and management teams who have real ambition and the potential to shape global markets.
Clearly Drinks, established in 1885, 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 Sainsbury’s private label. Clearly Drinks draws its spring water directly from on-site boreholes at its headquarters in the North East. The pure, local spring water acts as a basis for fresh and fruity flavour combinations and carbonations.