The news comes as Somerset cider-makers Brothers Drinks Company, who bought one of C&C Group’s bottling lines and associated buildings at the Shepton Mallet Cider Mill in England, hopes to retain “some” of the 120 or so jobs to be lost as a result of the closing down of the €7.4 million operation there.
The bottling line sold has capacity to produce 1.5m bottles a day but has reportedly never been used according to a report in The Sunday Times
C&C sold the plant after progressing moves to utilise spare capacity at its Clonmel plant and this move to Clonmel is expected to generate around 80 jobs there.
As the company didn’t sell any of the brands that it owns, the move means that Blackthorn and Olde English brand production has been moved to Clonmel with the cessation of production in Shepton Mallet.
Before the sale, trade union Unite, which represents 1.4 million people in the UK and Ireland, had called on C&C to find a buyer for the plant, fearing for the future of its 120 employees after C&C pulled out.
“Communities throughout Ireland have suffered the consequences of multinationals pulling out, leaving devastated communities in their wake,” stated the union at the time, adding, “Unite members are therefore particularly disappointed that an Irish multinational such as C&C should be effectively discarding not only the Shepton facility and its workforce, but also the long tradition of cider-making which made Shepton such an attractive location in the first place.”
While the bottling line and associated site was sold to Brothers, opportunities still exist to sell off other parts of this site.
C&C bought the Shepton Mallet plant (where cider production dates back to 1770) in 2009.
In the past, C&C moved one of its Clonmel bottling lines over to Shepton Mallet and another to Wellpark Brewery in Glasgow.
Between 2006 and 2007 the company invested over €100 million in the Clonmel site and as some of the lines were not being used so were moved, a spokesman for the company told Drinks Industry Ireland magazine.