Making It Work: Sustainable packaging for mineral water is making a splash

Borrisoleigh Bottling is bringing fresh ideas to an old business with its recyclable cartons

28th March, 2021
Making It Work: Sustainable packaging for mineral water is making a splash
Dermot Honan, CEO at Borrisoleigh Bottling Ltd

Borrisoleigh Bottling is bringing employment to the Tipperary village that serves as its headquarters with new environmentally friendly packaging for the mineral water it sells in Ireland and overseas.

The company sells its own brands, Global Hydrate and Captain Hydrate, to more than 200 stockists around Ireland. Customers include Dunnes Stores, Tesco and the wholesale groups BWG and Musgraves.

It also sells online at bblco.ie, supplies food service distributors and sells Captain Hydrate, its children’s brand, to school suppliers Caramobola and Glanmore.

Keen to differentiate itself in the retail sector, the company recently installed a Tetra Top production line to produce recyclable cartons made mostly from paperboard and sugar cane, both renewable materials.

“Our market starting out was Ireland, but we’ve now expanded into Northern Ireland, Britain, Italy, and even into Russia and China,” Dermot Honan, the firm’s chief executive, said. “When we installed the Tetra Top carton line, it was the only one of its type in Europe. It’s an increasingly popular type of carton, so it has brought customers to us.”

In addition to selling its own brands, Borrisoleigh Bottling has co-pack agreements with water brands selling in Ireland, European and the Middle East. Under these agreements, it produces own-brand mineral water in Tetra Top cartons, as well as glass and plastic bottles.

The bottling plant has deep roots in the community, with its origins dating back to the 1950s when it was established as a bottler of stout and a manufacturer of soft drinks. It remained in operation under different owners until 2016 when it was shut down with the loss of more than 100 jobs. The move devastated the community, according to Honan.

“Borrisoleigh is a rural community, a small village with various parishes surrounding it. A lot of the people who worked at the bottling plant came from these parishes. It was a huge part of the community,” he said said.

Borrisoleigh Bottling took over the plant in December 2017. The business now employs 25 people, most of whom had worked at the plant over the years, and who are now shareholders in the new business.

“It’s been nice to see some activity coming back into the place again. There’s a great wealth of experience and a groundswell of goodwill here. People really care about making this a success,” Honan said.

Borrisoleigh Bottling is a client of Enterprise Ireland, the state agency. “They’ve connected us with Teagasc and Bord Bia through the FoodWorks programme,” Honan said.

“That’s helped us to connect with experts in market development, sales, distribution and financing. Once they engage, they continue to stay connected as the company evolves.”

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