C&C Group plc (known prior to its flotation as Cantrell & Cochrane Limited) is a manufacturer, marketer and distributor of alcoholic drinks, particularly cider. It has production facilities across Ireland, Great Britain and the United States, and its products are sold around the world. It is listed on the London Stock Exchange and is a constituent of the FTSE 250 Index.
|Public limited company|
|Founded||Belfast, Ireland (1852)|
|Stuart Gilliland, Chairman |
Stephen Glancey, CEO
Andrea Pozzi, COO
|Products||Alcoholic drinks, soft drinks|
|Revenue||€ 1,997.3 million (2018)|
|€ 104.5 million (2018)|
|€ 72.1 million (2018)|
The company was founded by Dr Thomas Cantrell, who opened a shop in Belfast in Ulster in 1852 selling soft drinks; he went into partnership with Alderman Henry Cochrane, thereafter trading as Cantrell & Cochrane Limited. Cochrane was appointed a baronet in 1903.
A particularly famous product in Ireland is C&C Club Orange, a carbonated orange soft drink developed in the 1930s. Other flavours were subsequently developed, such as Club Lemon and Club Rock Shandy (an orange and lemon blend). With C&C's increasing emphasis on alcoholic beverages, the Club range of soft drinks and bottled water was sold to Britvic Ireland in 2007.
In 1937, William Magner in Clonmel acquired the rights to produce the Bulmer's Cider brand in what later became the Republic of Ireland from H. P. Bulmer. C&C introduced Magners cider in 1999, as they only held rights to Bulmers in the Republic of Ireland and wanted to expand into the United Kingdom.
In America the company saw a chance to challenge soft-drink giants Coca-Cola and Pepsi-Cola with its own C&C Cola. An elaborate marketing scheme was launched in 1955, in connection with the television revival of 740 motion pictures produced by RKO Radio Pictures. C&C Television Corporation reprinted the entire RKO library for nationwide syndication in the United States. All of the features now began with a "C&C Movietime" title card, and TV stations showing the films would interrupt the telecasts for commercial mentions of C&C Cola. Although the broadcast rights to the RKO library now belong to Turner Entertainment, licences to the C&C prints were granted in perpetuity, and stations that bought 16mm prints of the C&C films in the 1950s continue to show them today.
Introduced in 2003, the Oliver & Greg's flagship range was launched "to provide a quality drinking experience without pretentiousness or complicated wine language." The company started selling Magners cider in Northern Ireland, then in London, and then in the rest of Great Britain, Spain and Bavaria. Sales exploded in 2005 and 2006, and the company had to bring forward expansion plans to meet forecast demand. H. P. Bulmer, seeing their market share in the UK decline, relaunched their Bulmers cider in packaging similar to Magners and sold it to be served over ice, a concept introduced by C&C. As a result of better distribution and better pricing, H.P. Bulmer regained some lost ground.
C&C acquired the Tennents lager brand and Wellpark Brewery in August 2009 from InBev. Tennents is the largest lager brand in Scotland. Tennents also has a large share of the Northern Irish lager market and it was intended this would strengthen Magners' position as Tennents and Magners would share distribution. As part of the acquisition C&C will also exclusively distribute InBev brands on the island of Ireland, with the exception of Budweiser, which is distributed historically by Diageo.
In 2009 Magners had about 12% of the UK cider market. C&C cut production and laid off staff at Clonmel in 2009 due to overcapacity. In late 2009 C&C bought the Gaymer Cider Company giving them a large production facility in Somerset and a distribution warehouse in Bristol.
C&C sold its portfolio of spirits brands in May 2010. The largest of these was Tullamore Dew, the world's second largest selling Irish whiskey after Jameson, Other brands are Carolans Irish Cream, Irish Mist and Frangelico, which are exported to over 80 international markets. In April 2010, C&C announced it was selling its Spirits & Liqueurs division to Scottish distillers William Grant & Sons for €300m. This would be used to pay down debt built up from the Tennents and Gaymers purchases. The division's 57 staff, it was announced, would transfer with the business on disposal. It was also revealed that William Grant, whose brands include Glenfiddich Scotch Whisky and Hendrick's Gin, would operate the division's packaging facility located at the group's manufacturing site in Clonmel, County Tipperary.
C&C purchased the majority of the Gleeson Group in November 2012, extending its distribution reach and returning it to the soft drinks and bottled water markets which it had previously exited in 2007. They did not purchase the Gleeson Groups cider or liquer businesses.
In 2013 C&C Brands began to manage & market its newly acquired portfolio of On Trade wines and spirits. Alongside flagship brand Oliver & Greg's brand, the range was expanded to include a further eight specially selected worldwide wine brands: Moondarra, Trulli, Humboldt Coast, Santa Serena, Cape Promise, L’Emage, Zarapito and Anapai River.
In December 2015, C&C announced that Pabst Brewing Company would be taking over distribution of its cider brands in the US. Pabst Brewing Company also gained the option to acquire C&C's two US cider brands, Woodchuck and Vermont. In January 2016, further retrenchment was announced with the closure announced of the company's Shepton Mallett factory. The factory was sold to Brothers Drinks Co in October and some C&C brands will continue to be produced there.
On 4 April 2018, C&C announced the acquisition of Matthew Clark and Bibendum PLB, the wholesaling arm of the troubled Conviviality, which five days earlier had announced its intention to enter administration. The acquisition was supported by AB InBev, and was for a nominal sum, with C&C and AB InBev injecting capital to fund the rescued business to working capital resources of £102 million.
Due to an increased volume of UK based shareholders, C&Cs stock market listing moved entirely to the London Stock Exchange in October 2019, delisting entirely from the Euronext Dublin (formerly Irish Stock Exchange) bourse, and changing the quotation currency to Sterling.
On 16 January 2020 it was announced that CEO Stephen Glancey was stepping down from his position as CEO.
Like many alcohol companies, C&C invests heavily in sports sponsorship.
Production takes place at:
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- Everest in panoramic HD. "Plan to sell spirits division sends C&C shares soaring - Irish, Business". Independent.ie. Retrieved 22 December 2012.
- Peacock, Louisa (23 October 2012). "Magners maker to buy US firm Vermont amid weak UK sales". Telegraph. Retrieved 22 December 2012.
- This week's Sunday Independent. "Shares in C&C surge after company announces €234m Vermont Hard Cider acquisition - Irish, Business". Independent.ie. Retrieved 22 December 2012.
- Ciaran Hancock (23 November 2012). "C&C deal nets Cooneys €12.4m". Irishtimes.com. Retrieved 1 December 2019.
- "C&C signs distribution deal with US brewer Pabst". Retrieved 4 September 2018.
- Kollewe, Julia (12 January 2016). "Shepton Mallet cider mill to close". the Guardian. Retrieved 4 September 2018.
- "Shepton Mallet cider mill saved after buyout". Retrieved 4 September 2018.
- Rovnik, Naomi (29 March 2018). "Retailer Conviviality to file for administration". Financial Times.
- Robinson, Nicholas. "C&C Group buys Matthew Clark and Bibendum". Morningadvertiser.co.uk. Retrieved 1 December 2019.
- Eoin Burke-Kennedy (10 September 2019). "C&C to switch listing from Dublin to London next month". Irishtimes.com. Retrieved 1 December 2019.
- "C&C hunts for new chief executive as Stephen Glancey retires". Irish Times. 16 January 2020. Retrieved 16 January 2020.
- The best apps of 2012. "C&C to raise sponsorship spend on Scottish sports - European, Business". Independent.ie. Retrieved 22 December 2012.
- "C&C Group to cut 180 jobs as competition bites". Just Drinks. 12 January 2016. Retrieved 1 December 2019.