Drinks Inc. Celebrates 20 Years in Business

Ambitious plans for expansion as part of Musgrave Group

Drinks Inc. is celebrating a landmark 20 years in business. The company is now an integral part of the Musgrave Group in Northern Ireland, following its acquisition in 2019, and has set out ambitious growth plans to further expand its footprint in the beverage sector.

Musgrave Wholesale Director Richard Mayne, who leads the team at Drinks Inc., commented on the business milestone –

“Twenty years in business is a fantastic achievement and is testament to the strong team in place at Drinks Inc. This industry knowledge, combined with Musgrave’s longstanding track record in foodservice and retail, is a perfect pairing as we continue to expand our position in the alcohol market.”

Established in 2001, Belfast based Drinks Inc. is one of the largest and fastest growing drinks distributors on the island of Ireland. With a portfolio of over 1,000 products covering spirit, wine, beer and soft drink categories, their range and offer has been key to this growth. In addition, the company is also the exclusive agent for a large number of premium brands and wineries, including Teeling Whiskey, Mionetto Prosecco and market leading wine brands such as Isla Negra and Trivento Reserve.

Drinks Inc’s customer-focused sales team supported by a dedicated in-house logistics team allows them to offer a ‘one-stop-shop’ for all alcohol needs. This, in conjunction with no delivery charges and no minimum order size, has helped facilitate unrivalled customer service over the years.

While the pandemic brought many challenges for the business, Richard is quick to praise the team for their support to the industry –   

“While the 2020 lockdowns were extremely challenging for the on-trade, we made a commitment to keep our sales teams on the road. This ensured they could stay engaged and assist our customers throughout the uncertainty.’’

“Furthermore, with the hospitality sector now opened again, we have been able to hit the ground running with our plans, working as a trusted partner with our customers and collectively coming back stronger.”

“At the same time within the off-trade, we have clearly seen significant increases in volume over the last 14 months and again, by maintaining our presence in the market we have been able to tailor our offer to meet the needs of new and existing customers.’’

The Drinks Inc. anniversary month coincides with the reopening of local hospitality in Northern Ireland following the easing of lockdown restrictions. With many exciting developments in the pipeline, the team will be able to further engage with customers and help them navigate the demands of the post-Covid environment.

Looking to the future, Richard continues:

“We’re now confident that building on the 20 years of industry experience and with the recent additions to the team and portfolio, we’re in a fantastic position to take Drinks Inc. to the next level.”

As part of the ambitious growth plans, the Drinks Inc. team is expanding with the announcement of Tom Kinnier as Sales Manager and Peter McBride as Wine Specialist.  Collectively Tom and Peter bring a breadth of industry experience and product knowledge.

In conclusion Richard summarised:   

“We are hopefully coming through the far side of the pandemic and on behalf of all the team, I would like to praise the resilience of our customers and thank them for their ongoing support during this extraordinary period of trading.’’

 

Photos: (Top) Celebrating 20 years in business are the sales team at Drinks Inc with Musgrave wholesale director, Richard Mayne (front centre). (Bottom L-R) Tom Kinnier, sales manager; Peter McBride, wine specialist and Richard Mayne, wholesale director of Drinks Inc.

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Musgrave MarketPlace invests €650,000 to support the reopening of hospitality

#SupportIrishHospitality campaign aims to help reboot hospitality businesses across the country

31 May 2021 – Musgrave MarketPlace, Ireland’s leading wholesale supplier to foodservice, retail, and SME businesses, today announced it is investing €650,000 to support the reopening of Irish hospitality at the beginning of June. As part of this investment, Musgrave MarketPlace has launched a range of new initiatives to support the industry and assist the reboot and recovery of the sector.

From today (31st May 2021), Musgrave MarketPlace will roll out a nationwide campaign to encourage consumers to support their local hospitality businesses. #SupportIrishHospitality will include press ads in seven national dailies and nationwide radio, digital and social media advertising campaigns calling on consumers to help the industry get back on its feet by dining out responsibly.

Musgrave MarketPlace will also be using its social channels to spotlight local hospitality businesses around the country throughout the campaign as well as giving consumers a chance to win vouchers for their favourite local eateries.

It is estimated that the foodservice industry was worth €6.3bn pre-COVID employing between 150,000 and 250,000 people making it vital to the recovery of the economy.

In addition to rallying consumer support, Musgrave MarketPlace has also created a series of new measures to help hospitality businesses get back up and running. These include:

  1. Extended opening hours: Musgrave MarketPlace branches across the country will now be open for longer with some branches open 7 days a week (from June 6th) to allow customers more access to products as and when they need them.
  2. Time saving products: Based on feedback from the industry earlier this year, Musgrave MarketPlace has new labour-saving products such as pre-prepared vegetables, desserts, and sauces to save time in the kitchen and help ease the impact of reduced staff numbers.
  3. Increased network support: To help manage the surge in demand over the coming days, Musgrave MarketPlace has increased its driver pool by 33% to accommodate more deliveries as well as increasing the number of customer service representatives available in branches nationwide to help facilitate customers’ needs during the recovery period.
  4. Food service promotions: The cost of 200 products, including food and equipment, has been reduced to support customers as they restock their business.
  5. Irish suppliers: 680 Irish suppliers have been re-engaged by Musgrave MarketPlace to rebuild stock levels and over 3,500 Irish products are available from Musgrave MarketPlace.
  6. Dedicated online hub: Creation of a dedicated online Foodservice support hub featuring reopening advice, menu inspiration and great value offers to help customers reboot their business.
  7. Musgrave MarketPlace Plus: An affinity scheme, in partnership with Wrkit, has been created to help customers cut costs with a range of offers and discounts on everything from insurance to fuel to recruitment and much more. There is also the opportunity for customers to promote their business to over 100,000 users on the Wrkit platform.

Commenting on today’s announcement Michael McCormack, Managing Director of Musgrave Wholesale Partners said:

The reopening of hospitality marks an important milestone for our customers, suppliers and indeed Ireland’s economic recovery. As an Irish family-owned business with 145 years supporting hospitality here, local is in our DNA. Our #SupportIrishHospitality campaign is about giving our customers and indeed the hospitality sector as much support as we possibly can as they reopen, whether that be through our reboot resource designed in collaboration with our customers or an advertising campaign aimed at encouraging the consumer to support hospitality. Luck alone will not be enough – the sector needs all our support.”

Welcoming the campaign, Adrian Cummins, CEO of the Restaurants Association of Ireland said:

This is a critical time for our industry and businesses across the country need our support now more than ever. The measures introduced by Musgrave MarketPlace are hugely welcome and will go a long way to helping the industry recover. Key to the success of the reopening of the industry will be customers supporting their local hospitality businesses so we would urge consumers to get behind the campaign and show their support.”

Lorraine Heskin, Musgrave MarketPlace customer and CEO of The Gourmet Food Parlour said:

We’re really looking forward to welcoming customers back into our restaurants from June. It has been an extremely difficult time for the industry, but we are hopeful that we can bounce back over the coming months. We are a longstanding customer of Musgrave MarketPlace and we hugely value the help and supports they have put in place to aid the reboot of the sector. The #SupportIrishHospitality campaign is a fantastic initiative, and I would urge consumers to support their local eateries when they reopen in June.”

The Musgrave MarketPlace #SupportIrishHospitality campaign is live from today. To find out more visit www.musgravemarketplace.ie or visit us on Facebook

 

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Centra sees increased demand for Moo’d Ice Cream as consumers scream for ice cream during pandemic

Covid has led to +22% increase in ice cream sales in 2020

Ice cream cone remains firm favourite while demand for premium products and toppings continues to grow

Centra, Ireland’s leading convenience retailer, has revealed a significant increase in demand for Moo’d Ice Cream products, with the brand generating €1.6m as of week 16 in 2021.

Retail sales for products in Centra’s Ice Cream offering have rebounded significantly in 2021 after COVID-19 lockdowns forced the closure of Moo’d counters for a number of weeks during 2020 with sales now up 120% year-to-date in 2021.

Figures for 2020 show the humble ice cream cone remained Ireland’s favourite form of ice cream with the range accounting for 47% of Moo’d take-home ice cream offering, amounting to €2.8m in sales. This was closely followed by sales of Moo’d Whirlies which accounted for 34% of overall sales last year. Separately, sweet treats like milkshakes, gelato and slushies brought it €1.9m in sales in 2020.

“Centra has been a massive part of our business. When we started out with Moo’d, we had three members of staff and we now have ten full time members,” said Lisa Clarke, Business Development Manager of Moo’d Ice Cream Treats commentated,Our factory is based in rural Ireland where there were limited job opportunities and prospects. Partnering with Musgrave has enabled us to grow our business and employ local people supporting over 10 families in the local area. Centra has played a massive role in growing our business and without them, we would not have been able to do this. We are delighted to be in partnership with Centra across all of Ireland and be able to deliver fantastic products to customers and make their day.”

Gerry Sheridan, Owner of Ice Cream Treats added: “While Covid had a huge impact on the Moo’d counters, Ice Cream Treats were able to continue operating as a business due to the demand for Moo’d take home tubs range. As our factory is small and we have limited staff on the production line, we were able to operate safely with social distancing. We used the time to develop new Moo’d flavours, creations and engage with our Centra retailers.”

Ice Cream Treats is a member of the Bord Bia Origin Green programme and are working towards reducing their emissions and waste in manufacturing. The company have reduced their energy consumptions by 70% over the last 4 years and are proud to say their Moo’d whirlie cups, gelato cups, milkshake cups, straws and spoons are all compostable.

Ice cream trends

The latest sales data from Centra also shows that caramel is Ireland’s favourite ice cream topping with most consumers including it in the custom swirl cups closely followed by the Bueno Whirl.

The COVID-19 pandemic has led to +22% increase in total ice cream sales in 2020 with demand for multipacks growing by 50% as people look to treat themselves at home during lockdowns.

Centra has also reported a 50% increase in sales of premium ice cream products with people indulging themselves as the pandemic continues with chocolate-based products growing in popularity.

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Musgrave MarketPlace reaches milestone of €1 million worth of food redistributed to Irish charities through FoodCloud partnership

Musgrave MarketPlace, Ireland’s leading wholesale supplier to foodservice, retail, and SME businesses, is delighted to announce it has donated over 795,000 meals to charities in Ireland through its partnership with FoodCloud. Musgrave MarketPlace has been partnered with FoodCloud since 2016 and over that period has donated a massive 334 tonnes of food, with an estimated value of €1 million worth of food redistributed.

FoodCloud is a social enterprise that connects businesses with surplus food to charities in their local communities via their tech and warehouse solutions, allowing them to donate food easily and directly to charities that need it. Since the partnership’s commencement in 2016, 410 charities have received donations from Musgrave MarketPlace.

Through its food donations that may otherwise have been diverted to landfill, Musgrave MarketPlace has prevented over 1,000,000 kilos of CO2-equivalent emissions from entering the earth’s atmosphere and damaging the environment. As food waste is a huge contributor to climate change, its partnership with FoodCloud is a key focus for the business. Musgrave MarketPlace is committed to doing everything possible to build a more sustainable future, including increasing the number of small, local suppliers that products are sourced from, investing in new eco-friendly refrigeration systems and reducing its carbon footprint by maximising route efficiencies. The FoodCloud partnership is an important strand of the companies overall Sustainability Strategy.

Musgrave MarketPlace donates surplus food from their seven branches nationwide directly to Irish charities through the FoodCloud app. One of the seven branches, Musgrave MarketPlace Waterford has supported local charity, U-Casadh, through the donation of 658 meals to date, used for breakfast clubs, provision of hot meals to young people and the delivery of food parcels throughout Covid-19 lockdown periods.

A spokesperson for U-Casadh said: “Thanks to FoodCloud and their partnership with Musgrave MarketPlace, we have been able to provide young people from socially challenged communities with a free breakfast club before school and a hot meal after school.”

“By using FoodCloud, we have saved money that we would normally have spent on food and have been able to spend this on additional support and resources for the young people we work with and by delivering food parcels during the Covid-19 lockdown, we are able to keep in contact with the young people we work with at their homes
.”

Commenting on the announcement, Michael McCormack, Managing Director at Musgrave MarketPlace said: “We are delighted to announce we have reached a milestone donation of over 795,000 meals through our partnership with FoodCloud, with an estimated value of over €1 million. Whilst these unprecedented times remain difficult for us all, the charity sector has been hit particularly hard with the loss of many avenues for fundraising. Through this partnership, we have helped provide quality, fresh produce to some of the most vulnerable people in our communities. Rediverting our food surplus to FoodCloud has also reduced our C02-eq to landfill by 1 million kilos in line with our sustainability commitments. We look forward to continuing our partnership with FoodCloud.”

Aoibheann O’Brien, Partnerships Director at FoodCloud added: “Musgrave MarketPlace has been a key contributor to FoodCloud since they began donating surplus food in 2016. To reach more than 795,000 meals redistributed since then is an incredible milestone and a true testament to the effort put in and the work carried out by the dedicated staff at Musgrave MarketPlace. Musgrave MarketPlace is an excellent example of an organisation that has expanded its operation with us over the years, rolling out FoodCloud to its branches outside Dublin. We look forward to working in partnership with Musgrave MarketPlace for many years to come.”

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SuperValu calls on shoppers to think Irish when gifting this month as it’s successful ‘Monday Market Place’ returns to Support Local Businesses

SuperValu is bringing back its ‘Monday Market Place’ to support local businesses and encourage shoppers to think before they click and buy Irish. Now more than ever it is important to show our support because when we buy Irish five times more money stays in the local economy.

March celebrates wonderful gifting occasions including International Women’s Day (March 8th), Mother’s Day (March 14th) and St. Patrick’s Day (March 17th) each date crucial for small businesses to promote and sell their locally produced ranges.

With followers of over 120,000, SuperValu’s Instagram channel is offering 10 businesses per week the chance to be showcased each Monday during March. The campaign ran during the run up to Christmas 2020 with huge success for businesses affected by the pandemic as it offers a national platform to help drive interest and sales during key gifting occasions.

As SuperValu is rooted in community and proudly supports over 1,800 local food producers and suppliers, opening its social media platforms to help other businesses in towns nationwide is natural. And, in partnership with ‘Guaranteed Irish Month’SuperValu is actively encouraging consumers to buy Irish gifts at www.GuaranteedIrishGifts.ie which showcases hundreds of the very best locally produced products from every corner of the country.

During the pandemic, trends in buying patterns show that Irish consumers have become more interested in the provenance of their purchases, notably their food choices and are actively looking for an Irish option. Working closely with 290 small local producers on shelves 52 weeks of the year through its SuperValu Food Academy, shoppers are assured of the quality and value of their  Irish produce along with a real commitment to supporting sustainable businesses and communities across Ireland. As SuperValu continues to trade as an essential business, it is playing its part to encourage shoppers to buy from other Irish retailers and help them on the road to recovery.

Commenting on the campaign, Tara Clifford, Strategy Marketing Manager SuperValu, said “Supporting Irish and buying local is in our DNA and over the coming months  we will continue to drive the message to shop local. With International Women’s Day next week, we are particularly proud of the 140 outstanding female entrepreneurs taking part in our SuperValu Food Academy. It is with producers like these that make our communities stronger by working together.”

Brid O’Connell, CEO of Guaranteed Irish, added; “Our partnership with SuperValu promotes our 1,500 members. This support directly benefits those businesses who continue to struggle during this pandemic. By shopping at www.GuaranteedIrishGifts.ieevery euro spent means 5 times more money stays in the local economy and supports local jobs.”

For more information on how you can support your local community go to www.supervalu.ie, SuperValu Facebook, Instagram and Twitter and www.GuaranteedIrishGifts.ie for great locally produced gifts.

Photo: Mari Donelan from Dan & Monstro, based in Dublin, which creates delicious nutritious sauces especially made for kids.

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Musgrave MarketPlace raises €48,000 for The Alzheimer Society of Ireland in 2020

The money raised will go towards support services for both families and people with dementia to ensure no one has to face the disease alone.

Musgrave MarketPlace, Ireland’s leading wholesale supplier to foodservice, retail, and SME businesses, is delighted to announce it raised €48,000 for the Alzheimer Society of Ireland in 2020. Funds raised by Musgrave MarketPlace will go towards helping the Alzheimer Society of Ireland provide support services for both families and people with dementia to ensure no one has to face dementia alone.

Musgrave MarketPlace also announced this morning it will continue its partnership with The Alzheimer Society of Ireland in 2021, with an ambition to raise an additional €60,000 for the Charity. Overall Musgrave MarketPlace has raised over €270,000 for its charity partners since 2017.

Due to Covid-19, colleagues were faced with the challenge of fundraising and raising awareness in new and innovative ways in 2020, with extra precautions taken to ensure the safety of all colleagues and customers. Colleagues got creative organising virtual coffee mornings, a cyber cycle, online games, and even an online fitness distance challenge amongst the seven Musgrave MarketPlace sites nationwide.

The Alzheimer Society of Ireland advocates, empowers, and champions the rights of people living with dementia and their communities to quality support and services. Covid-19 has had a huge impact on the adults and families who rely on The Alzheimer Society of Ireland. Throughout the pandemic The Alzheimer Society of Ireland has continued to provide essential support with home care services, dementia advisers, national helpline, and online family carer training. And each day 30 people are diagnosed with dementia in Ireland – services of the Alzheimer Society of Ireland therefore have never been more important.

Commenting on the announcement, Michael McCormack, Managing Director at Musgrave MarketPlace said: I would like to thank the Musgrave MarketPlace team who put a huge amount of time and effort into raising this money in unprecedented circumstances. Now more than ever, it’s important that charities like The Alzheimer Society of Ireland are supported. Throughout 2020, we have seen the amazing work they do to support both families and people with dementia. To date we have raised over €48,000 and look forward to continuing our partnership with The Alzheimer Society of Ireland in 2021.’

Pat McLoughlin, CEO of The Alzheimer Society of Ireland said: “On behalf of The Alzheimer Society of Ireland, I would like to say a huge thank you to Musgrave MarketPlace. The €48,000 the team worked so hard to raise during very difficult times will be used to fund vital supports and services in the community and to ensure those living with dementia, along with their families, get the support they need. We are heavily reliant on donations to provide our services, so we are very grateful to everyone at Musgrave MarketPlace.”

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Noel Keeley appointed as new Musgrave CEO

Musgrave Group plc announced today that Noel Keeley, current Managing Director of Musgrave Wholesale Partners, has been appointed as CEO designate of Musgrave and is due to take up this position on 1st January 2020, following a handover period with current CEO Chris Martin. This follows a recruitment process which began with the announcement earlier this year that Chris Martin would retire from the business.

Noel Keeley is currently Managing Director of Musgrave Wholesale Partners, where he is responsible for Musgrave’s wholesale business across the island of Ireland. He has transformed Musgrave MarketPlace, which has become Ireland’s leading wholesale business for retailers, SMEs and a one-stop shop for the hospitality sector. He has also led the growth of SuperValu and Centra in Northern Ireland and he was responsible for the acquisition of fine food specialist La Rousse Foods. Noel Keeley joined Musgrave in 2005 and was Group HR Director before he took up his current role in 2010.

Commenting on the appointment, Musgrave Chairman, Nicky Hartery, said: “We are delighted that Noel has accepted the position as Musgrave CEO. He will bring his vast experience to bear as we build on our Growing Good Business strategy. Under Noel’s leadership our wholesale and food service business has become the market leader across the island of Ireland and he has driven the growth of SuperValu and Centra in Northern Ireland. We would like to thank Chris Martin for his leadership over the past fifteen years, having firmly established Musgrave as Ireland’s leading food retail, wholesale and foodservice company.”

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Musgrave to ‘redefine convenience’ in Northern Ireland with ambitious expansion plans

Owners of SuperValu, Centra, MACE and MarketPlace announce £28million investment, with plans to open up to 20 new stores, creating around 550 jobs

Leading grocery and convenience retailer, Musgrave NI, which owns the SuperValu, Centra, MACE and MarketPlace brands, has announced ambitious plans to open up to 20 new stores in Northern Ireland in 2019, creating around 500 new jobs and revamping an additional 40 stores, as part of a significant £28 million investment.

The ambitious growth strategy is part of Musgrave NI’s vision to ‘redefine convenience’ through the creation of refreshed, inviting, modern stores that challenge the status quo.

The platform for growth for Musgrave NI is built upon an incredibly positive performance in Musgrave Group. Within the Group, turnover grew by almost 4% to €3.9bn last year, with pre-tax profits rising 5.6% to €84.5m. Across the island of Ireland, SuperValu grew sales last year by 1.5% to €2.9bn, with Centra growing 4% to €1.9bn. In Northern Ireland, SuperValu, Centra, MACE and MarketPlace delivered significant growth in 2018, with positive year on year sales growth across all brands.

Commenting on the announcement, Michael McCormack, Managing Director of Musgrave NI said:

“These results provide a solid platform for us to grow our presence in the NI market and we very much leverage our Group strength when it comes to buying, tapping into expertise and adapting concepts that we see working across our business.

“While 2018 was a good year, we know we can’t stand still. Our plans are ambitious but achievable. For us, this is all about how we’ll realise our vision to ‘redefine convenience’ in Northern Ireland.’

“We have been working towards achieving this vision across our SuperValu, Centra and MACE brands; focusing on what matters to our shoppers – bringing healthier, restaurant quality food to convenience and continuously innovating across all aspects of convenience.”

Over the last two years, artisan on-the-go coffee brand, Frank and Honest has been introduced to 110 SuperValu, Centra and Mace stores across Northern Ireland. With over 700 Frank and Honest locations across the island of Ireland, Frank and Honest is now the largest on-the-go coffee brand on the island.

New food concepts including Green Kitchen – a freshly prepared standalone salad bar – has grown significantly, off the back of consumer demand for fresher, healthier options from consumers. The company has also seen success in of its new XO Donuts brand, which it launched in 2018. To date, in excess of 40,000 donuts have been sold.

The 20 new store openings will be made up of a mix of brand new store developments and acquisitions, as Musgrave seeks to convert retailers and buy new sites.

Michael added: “Our aim to redefine convenience is underpinned by our ability to grow our estate across the SuperValu, Centra and MACE brands. That’s why we’ve been extremely active in the market – we’re opening brand new stores – as we’ve done with the recent opening of Gracey’s Centra City Quays, Belfast and in Mallusk, where we are building a new Centra store this year.

“First and foremost, we want to work with the best independent retailers and grow business together. However, as we seek to grow and offer our existing retailers the benefits of scale, we are looking at converting retailers and saying to those that are thinking of selling their business, freehold or leasehold – that we are very much open for business.”

Revamping existing stores within its estate is also a core part of Musgrave’s ongoing investment and growth strategy. Retailers that have completed refresh programmes are demonstrating robust sales growth. There’s an impressive pipeline of recent refreshes – more than 80 in recent years – including Lilley’s Centra at Dublin Road, Enniskillen, Moran’s Centra Strand Road, Derry-Londonderry, Watson’s Centra Cloughey, SuperValu Comber and SuperValu Kings Road. The next refurbishment will take place at SuperValu Lisburn.

Looking to 2019, the Musgrave NI brands will tap into a number of consumer trends and the merging of retail and foodservice to achieve further growth, bringing more new concepts to the Northern Ireland market.

One of those new concepts is Caramico pizza, a concept using authentic pizza ovens to offer a freshly made pizza in-store. It has been rolled out successfully by Musgrave in the Republic of Ireland, driven by a high-quality product that surpasses other established pizza brands. Key to the concept is a ‘for now’ and ‘for later’ offering for consumers. A rotisserie style chicken concept will also be rolled out following successful trials.

Last year, Musgrave celebrated 35 years in business in Northern Ireland, is a committed local employer of over 5,000 people across its business along with a dedicated partner of almost 130 retail families within the province.

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