Spring water group plans £3.7m investment to boost exports

Lurgan’s Classic Mineral Water claims to be the oldest water bottling company in Ireland

Liam Duffy, chief executive and owner of Classic Mineral Water Company and John Hood from Invest Northern Ireland

Liam Duffy, chief executive and owner of Classic Mineral Water Company and John Hood from Invest Northern Ireland

 

A Lurgan company that claims to be the “oldest water bottling company in Ireland” is to invest more than £3.7 million to expand its operations and grow sales throughout Ireland and the UK.

The Classic Mineral Water Company, which was set up in 1948 by James McKee and is now managed by the third generation of his family, plans to increase production capacity and create 39 jobs as it expands into new export markets.

Invest Northern Ireland is backing the expansion project with £550,000 of financial support towards the capital investment costs.

Mr McKee started his business by selling soft drinks directly to his customers long before home delivery was ever in fashion.

The company, which was awarded mineral water status in 1994, uses a local water source for its products which originates from a 150-metre deep source and has a rich mineral composition.

We have over 70 years of expertise in the market. We plan to expand on this through innovation and development

Apart from its own range of still and sparkling waters, the Classic Mineral Water Company produces own-label products for retailers including Tesco, Dunnes Stores, SuperValu, Mace, Centra, Spar and Eurospar.

Chief executive and current owner Liam Duffy said the continuing growth of the bottled soft drink business across Ireland and Europe creates good opportunities for the company.

“We have over 70 years of expertise in the market. We plan to expand on this through innovation and development, delivering growth in export markets by increasing capacity and efficiency, alongside reducing production costs,” he said.

The company hopes to grow sales from its current level of £2.5 million to £10 million over the next three to four years.