C&C confirms acquisition of Gleeson Group

Business | Thu 4 Sep | Author – Business & Finance
C&C Gleeson Commercial Director, Stephen Meleady
C&C Gleeson commercial director, Stephen Meleady

C&C Group plc. has confirmed the acquisition and integration into its business of the Gleeson Group, one of Ireland’s leading beverage wholesalers, creating a new, formidable force in the drinks sector in Ireland – C&C Gleeson.

The newly enlarged entity combines strong distribution, wholesale and marketing capabilities, bolstered by a dedicated sales force offering unrivalled nationwide coverage to customers on the island of Ireland.

C&C’s portfolio, which includes flagship brand Bulmers in addition to Tennent’s, AB INBev brands and the company’s new Irish beer offering, Clonmel 1650, will be strengthened by leading wine and soft drinks brands such as Santa Rita, Laurent Perrier, Finches and Tipperary Water.

The past year has seen a strategic consolidation of C&C’s existing Republic of Ireland business with the Gleeson Group to create a single Irish entity. As part of the integration of the two businesses, the Bulmers’ marketing and sales team has been amalgamated with the Gleeson wholesale and distribution team to produce a streamlined and heavy-hitting Irish presence in the Irish market.

With a staff of some 900 people in eight locations around Ireland, C&C Gleeson will maintain its strong commitment to Tipperary, its historic home and plans are already in place for the construction of a craft brewery at the Bulmers plant in Clonmel, which will enhance the company’s developing multi-beverage capabilities.

The history of the company dates back to 1935, when commercial cider production was started by a local man, William Magner, in Dowd’s Lane, Clonmel. The company evolved to become Bulmers, which has been an integral part of the local community since that time and remains a substantial part of the economic infrastructure of Clonmel and beyond.

C&C Gleeson commercial director, Stephen Meleady, said of the acquisition: “We believe, with the completed acquisition and integration of the Gleeson Group, that we are now positioned to be Ireland’s number one wholesaler and the drinks supplier of choice to the country’s licensed and off-trade. With our combined infrastructure now in place, our geographical footprint on the island of Ireland will be unmatched, with access to over 7,000 on-trade premises from a potential market of almost 10,000 outlets. Acquiring the country’s leading drinks distribution and wholesale businesses was the next logical step for C&C, as we continue the growth of the business through a combination of organic expansion and strategic acquisitions.”

Brian Beattie, C&C Gleeson marketing director, said: “With the acquisition of the Gleeson Group, C&C has evolved into a multi-brand producer and distributor, equipping us with the ability to deliver growth in a market that has seen an overall and much publicised decline in the last six years. It is an exciting time for us at C&C and there is a new sense of optimism within the group, as we look towards the future as a more rounded and ultimately more compelling operation. We have moved from a single brand FMCG company to a multi-beverage organisation, which is good news for the business and great news for our customers.

“At the centre of our strategic plans for growth is the belief that by staying true to our Irish roots and by creating additional value for our customers, we will be able to realise this objective. Our Irish heritage is integral to the business.”

As part of this strategy, C&C Gleeson will continue to do its bit for the arts and music in Ireland by being a major supporter of arts and music festivals, large and small. Bulmers Forbidden Fruit and Bulmers Live at Leopardstown are two of the company’s most successful summer music sponsorships in ROI and have grown in popularity and profile year on year. Tennent’s Vital is one of the biggest music festivals on the circuit and is a significant sponsorship for the group, which is also heavily involved in a number of local sponsorships such as Body & Soul; The Clonmel Busking Festival; The Galway Races and the West Belfast Festival.

Tom McCusker, managing director of C&C Group Ireland remains MD of C&C Gleeson, with operations in Dublin, Belfast, Clonmel and Borrisoleigh, Co. Tipperary.