Contract Bottling toasts funding for expansion

Sunderland-based Contract Bottling Ltd (CBL) secured the funding with Newcastle venture capital firm, Rivers Capital Partners

Sunderland-based Contract Bottling Ltd
Sunderland-based Contract Bottling Ltd

The deals are flowing in for a North East soft drinks brand after an investment of £175,000 from a regional business angel.

Sunderland-based Contract Bottling Ltd (CBL) secured the funding with Newcastle venture capital firm, Rivers Capital Partners.

It will go towards rapid expansion by CBL, which is looking back on a successful summer.

Soft drinks have been manufactured at the Sunderland site for more than 100 years, and the firm has its own spring water supply on site.

It claims its success has been driven by putting the customer first, making “fabulous brands” for clients.

This year saw unprecedented soft drinks sales for CBL.

Having brought back to the market Perfectly Clear flavoured water earlier in the year, the bottling brand had a highly-successful July and August.

September sales were also boosted by the Indian summer’ with good performances across other locally-produced CBL brands.

Among the array of bottled soft drinks that CBL manufactures,distributes and markets at its 60,000sq ft manufacturing site are Perfectly Clear flavoured waters, a selection of 1870 mixers including Ginger Ale and Bitter Lemon, as well as Fruit Squeeze vitamin-packed children’s’ drinks.

The newly installed portfolio of drinks also includes the sugar-free Rola Cola that CBL has decided to relaunch into the premium cola sector in a brightly-packaged 500ml bottle.

Keith Ward, CBL’s financial director said they had developed a fantastic-tasting product that rivalled offerings from the two cola giants.

He added: “We are now able to add significant value to the category as a #3 branded cola offering superb value for money from a product that is surprisingly good’.”

Rivers Capital Partners, which offers investments from the North East Angel Fund to help start-up and growing companies like CBL, is both managed by, and nurtured for, entrepreneurs.

Nikita Bazko, part of the investment team at Rivers Capital, praised the focused approach of CBL.

Bazko said: “Not only do the CBL team have a great manufacturing base in the North East, they invest valuable time and effort into maintaining impeccable and personal client relations.”

The investment made by Rivers Capital will provide for rapid expansion in what is essentially a manufacturing business that has great potential to provide employment opportunities in the local community.

Journalists

David Whetstone
Culture Editor
Graeme Whitfield
Business Editor
Mark Douglas
Newcastle United Editor
Stuart Rayner
Sports Writer