Tender is part of restructuring as famous mineral producer targets new export markets

This Ortmann Herbst Type 24/6, 24 Head Rotary Filler with Screw Bottle Feeder, which sent thousands of bottles of 'Football Special' on their way to North West consumers is being sold off as part of ongoing restructuring.
This Ortmann Herbst Type 24/6, 24 Head Rotary Filler with Screw Bottle Feeder, which sent thousands of bottles of 'Football Special' on their way to North West consumers is being sold off as part of ongoing restructuring.

Plant that for years processed iconic North West minerals, such as ‘Football Special,’ and ‘Smooth Banana’ is being sold off on Friday as McDaid’s of Ramelton presses ahead with its ambitious soft drinks export strategy.

The plant, formerly owned by James McDaid and Sons Ltd., which is in voluntary liquidation, is being sold by tender sale by McKay Asset Valuers and Auctioneers on instructions of the liquidator, Eamon Leahy.

But there are no plans to starve fans of the company’s produce.

In fact, the drinks company has plans to expand further into markets rich in ex-pats overseas as well as at home.

A spokesperson for McDaid’s told the paper the firm the plant is being disposed of as part of a restructuring of the manufacturing process, initiated last year.

“We trade as Football Special Ltd and are focused on bringing our products outside of our traditional Donegal base with Seamus McDaid developing the export markets with a base in New York,” the spokesperson said.

The carbonated bottling plant being sold off includes bottle conveyers, rinsers, cappers and fillers.

Shrink-wrappers, pallett-wrappers, and sticker packaging equipment is also part of the tender sale.

According to the McDaid company website James McDaid & Sons Ltd. was orginally incorporated in 1949 to take over the business of James McDaid, a farmer turned shopkeeper.

The company eventually evolved from into drink distribution and ultimately soft drinks production.

“Initially in addition to the shop Mr McDaid and his eldest son James operated a van sales business, it was through this enterprise that James found the know-how which would later develop into a drink distribution company. James Jnr inherited a public house and was aware of the nature of supplies to that business,” it explains.

“In 1949 the public house was sold and the proceeds used to expand the van sales by the acquisition of a number of agencies for beer distribution and Mitchell’s, a small beer wholesaler in the locality.

“In 1958 a bottling contract was secured from Arthur Guinness and the technology learned was applied to soft drinks production.

“An old creamery was bought, which had its own spring water source, and a small soft drinks factory was established and used to develop a unique range of drinks including ‘Football Special.’ As the business grew its production was outsourced to a selected partner to avail of efficiencies of scale and modern bottling technology,” it adds.

As well as ‘Football Special’ and ‘Smooth Banana’ the company also produces American Ice Cream Soda, Creamy Cola, Exotic Pineapple and several Lemonade styles.