We have a rich heritage and an exciting future – from the creation of Coca‑Cola in 1886, and its arrival to the island of Ireland in 1939 to our recognition as an industry leader by the Dow Jones Sustainability Indices today.
Early years of Coca‑Cola
- Coca‑Cola was created by John S Pemberton in 1886 and served at Jacob’s Pharmacy
- By 1895, Coca‑Cola was being sold and consumed in every state in the US
- In 1899 the rights to bottle Coca‑Cola were sold by Asa Candler to Benjamin F Thomas and Joseph B Whitehead of Chattanooga, Tennessee for $1
Coca‑Cola's history across the island of Ireland
In 1938, local businessman Mr Tom Robinson wrote a letter to the Coca‑Cola Company in London expressing an interest in setting up the franchise in Northern Ireland.
A franchise agreement was signed with the Coca‑Cola Company on 17th April 1939 and the Ulster Iced Drinks Company (UIDC) was formed in Rumford Street, off Belfast's Shankill Road. On 3rd May the first case of Coca‑Cola produced in Northern Ireland was sold at a price of four old pence per bottle.
During World War II Robert Woodruff, President of Coca‑Cola made a gesture to the troops stating that 'every man in uniform gets a bottle of Coca‑Cola for 5c wherever he is‘. Northern Ireland was a strategic base for the repair and servicing of United States aircraft and the almost one million US Serviceman that passed through the base during these war years were refreshed by Coca‑Cola.
In 1952, Coca‑Cola arrived in the Republic of Ireland, following the set up of the first bottling company, Munster Bottlers of Cork. The plant was officially opened on 9th May by the then Parliamentary Secretary, Jack Lynch, who later became Taoiseach (Prime Minister).
In 1953, a franchise was granted to the Coca‑Cola Bottling Co. Dublin Ltd to serve the Leinster area.
The Ulster Iced Drinks Company changed its name to Coca‑Cola Bottlers Ulster Ltd (CCBU) and began distribution of Fanta Orange in 1963 and Fanta Lemon in 1966.
As a result of these new offerings, production more than doubled and to cope with demand Coca‑Cola Bottling Co. Dublin Ltd moved to a larger premises in Chapelizod.
The Ulster business also brought a new property at Lambeg Co Antrim in 1964 and new production lines were installed at each of the plants in Dublin, Cork and Tuam in 1965.
The new plant in Lambeg was officially opened by Captain Terence O'Neill, Prime Minister of Northern Ireland in 1968. The plant produced Fanta Orange, 7UP and Coca‑Cola, with a production line turning out fifty million bottles per year. Distribution was carried out from warehouses in Ballymoney, Londonderry and Omagh.
The Coca‑Cola Bottling Co. Dublin Ltd was purchased by John Daly Co in 1972 and subsequently Leventis.
Leventis was a company with Nigeria Coca‑Cola bottling operations, and it also bought a share of the Coca‑Cola Bottlers Ulster business.
In 1978, new equipment and the new production lines went live and the company introduced Lilt to the local marketplace. Plastic bottles (PET) were introduced along with family sized 26oz glass bottles.
In 1981 the Coca‑Cola Bottling Co. moved to a new manufacturing plant at Western Industrial Estate, Naas Road, Dublin 12 and he Lambeg plant was extended by building new warehouse extensions and offices.
Diet Coke was launched across the island in 1983 and a new PET line was installed for the 1.5 and 2 litre bottles.
In 1986, the Leventis company acquired Coca‑Cola Western Bottlers ,further consolidating the business across the island of Ireland.
This decade saw further innovations with Sprite launching in Northern Ireland in 1990 and Deep RiverRock still and sparkling in 1994.
The 1990’s also saw an increase in the company’s sponsorship and community support, with major sports sponsorship deals activated and employees became involved in charity fundraising.
In 2005, a 45 acre site at Knockmore Hill, Lisburn, Co. Antrim was chosen as prime position for Coca‑Cola’s new all-island bottling plant.
Following a period of transition, production at the Lambeg plant ceased in 2008 and Dublin employees relocated to a new office facility at Huntstown Business Park, where the office resides today.
Our state-of-the-art plant at Knockmore Hill, Lisburn opened in 2010, marked by a visit by Her Majesty, the Queen.
Coke Zero, a new member of the Coca‑Cola family, also launched in 2007.
Coca‑Cola Bottlers (Ulster) Ltd and Coca‑Cola Bottlers Ireland are now officially known as Coca‑Cola HBC Northern Ireland Limited and Coca‑Cola HBC Ireland Limited. This reflects both organisations’ membership of the 28 country Coca‑Cola Hellenic Bottling Company (CCHBC) and the legal entities across Ireland and Northern Ireland.
The company continues to actively invest in the local community, working in partnership with charity, community and environmental organisations on meaningful initiatives that benefit others and demonstrate the company’s commitment to corporate responsibility.
The history of Coca‑Cola HBC
- AG Leventis established the Nigerian Bottling Company in 1951
- Hellenic Bottling Company SA was incorporated in Greece in 1969
- 1981 saw Kar-Tess Holding SA, a private holding company, acquire a 99.9 percent interest in Hellenic Bottling Company SA
- In 1991, Hellenic Bottling Company SA shares became listed on the Athens Exchange
Coca‑Cola HBC is formed
In 2000, Hellenic Bottling Company SA acquired Coca‑Cola Beverages Ltd to form Coca‑Cola Hellenic Bottling Company SA
- Coca‑Cola HBC was listed on the NYSE through a sponsored ADR programme
- We acquired mineral water companies Valser in Switzerland and Dorna Apemin in Romania
- We acquired bottling operations in the Baltics
- Our FTSE4Good listing was confirmed against stricter social and environmental criteria
- Coca‑Cola HBC was listed among the top three most sustainable Food & Beverage companies according to the FTSE Group, based on environmental, social and governance criteria
- We announced the redomiciliation of our holding company to Switzerland and our intention to list on the London Stock Exchange
- Coca‑Cola HBC achieved a premium listing on the London Stock Exchange
- We completed a share exchange offer
- We're listed first in Europe and second in the world among beverage companies, according to the Dow Jones Sustainability Indices