Coca-Cola European Partners (CCEP) has announced that it will inject a total of £14million in its Morpeth operations this year.
The announcement has been welcomed by the town’s MP, Ian Lavery, who was shown part of the investment that has already been made in 2016 at the site in Coopies Lane.
The new high speed, fully automated water-processing and bottling line has more than doubled the site’s existing production capabilities from 18,200 bottles to 56,000 bottles per hour, which equates to over four million cases of water a year.
Joined by Leendert den Hollander, CCEP’s vice president and general manager, Steve Adams, director of supply chain operations, and Jane Buckley, operations director at Morpeth, Mr Lavery also had the opportunity to speak with several members of local staff and hear about the factory’s history.
The company’s Morpeth site is the only source of Schweppes Abbey Well Spring Water – the official water of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games – which is bottled at source using spring water from a natural underground aquifer on site.
It is also the sole site in Great Britain to produce glacéau smartwater, which launched in 2014.
Mr Lavery said: “It was fantastic to see the results of investment in the Morpeth site and I’m glad that I had the opportunity to talk to employees at all levels.
“Our community, and indeed the country, needs to see more high quality jobs in manufacturing like those in Morpeth. I’m sure that this site has a bright future supporting employment in Wansbeck.”
The MP also had the opportunity to learn about CCEP’s Made Locally campaign that celebrates its heritage by focusing on the people behind some of the country’s most popular soft drink brands.
Morpeth’s warehouse and facilities manager David Hunt has been the most recent of the ‘Local Heroes’ to star in the Made Locally adverts.
He has been an employee at CCEP’s Morpeth site since 2008, but has worked at the factory for the past 36 years from when the site was previously run by Waters & Robson.
In his current role, he is responsible for organising the daily storage and distribution of all products made on site, as well as overseeing all site utilities and facilities.
Mr Hunt was part of the team responsible for spearheading the creation of CCEP’s Unified Sports Tournament – hosted at the Morpeth site – which sees local teams from the company’s UK sites join athletes with intellectual disabilities from Special Olympics clubs to compete alongside each other in a range of sports.
Ms Buckley said: “At CCEP we are dedicated to supporting local manufacturing across the country and this investment in new equipment and production technology for Schweppes Abbey Well and glacéau smartwater is an exciting milestone for our Morpeth operations.
“We have a proud history here at Morpeth of producing high-quality water for consumers across Great Britain and are pleased to have welcomed Ian Lavery MP to see first-hand the world class on-site innovation which this most recent investment supports.
“I’m delighted that David has had the opportunity to be involved in a campaign that celebrates our close ties with the community.
“The new advert underlines our on-going commitment to the area and I hope gives an insight into our manufacturing business right here in Morpeth.”