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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Centra Reaches Landmark 100th Store in Northern Ireland

Centra 100

Musgrave NI announces £12 million investment for 2021  

Set against an ambitious growth strategy, local convenience retail brand, Centra continues its expansion across Northern Ireland with the opening of its 100th store.

The landmark achievement comes as Musgrave Northern Ireland, which operates the SuperValu, Centra and MACE brands, announced further investment plans of £12 million for 2021. This includes the opening of over 20 new stores, creating up to 500 jobs and follows on the back of an investment heavy year in 2020, despite the pandemic.

As part of this significant investment, an additional 17 existing stores across the network will also benefit from a revamp.
Centra Dunman Cookstown is the 100th store in the convenience brand’s portfolio in Northern Ireland and is located just outside Cookstown on the Moneymore Road. In addition, Lusty’s Centra in Larne Harbour recently opened its doors and the next few weeks will see openings in Knockbreda and Toome.

Significant refreshes are planned for SuperValu Portstewart, McGleenan’s Centra Keady and McCool’s Centra Ballymena, providing more inspiration and ideas for shoppers with a focus on quality across fresh produce, meat, and food-to-go.

Musgrave has invested heavily in its convenience offering in recent years, including its artisan on-the-go coffee brand, Frank and Honest, which is available in over 150 SuperValu, Centra and MACE stores across Northern Ireland. With over 800 Frank and Honest locations across the island of Ireland, Frank and Honest is now the largest on-the-go coffee brand on the island. Moo’d ice-cream, now available in over 20 stores, provides shoppers with a range of sweet treat options while Green Kitchen, the Centra salad bar offering, expanded its food-to-go menu.

Speaking today, Trevor Magill, Managing Director for Musgrave in Northern Ireland said –

“We have ambitious plans for our network with the focus clearly on our vision to ‘redefine convenience’ in Northern Ireland. The development of new stores alongside the refurbishment of existing stores and continuing to innovate when it comes to product lines, ensures we are always focused on what matters to our shoppers.

“Our teams, across the SuperValu, Centra and MACE brands, are dedicated to providing great quality and choice in terms of our offer, with value for money and exceptional levels of customer service at the heart of what we do.”

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SuperValu Reaches 25 Year Milestone in Northern Ireland

SuperValu Reaches 25 Year Milestone in Northern Ireland

Local retail brand at the heart of communities supporting almost 2,000 jobs

SuperValu, part of the Musgrave retail and wholesale group, is celebrating 25 years in Northern Ireland. With the first store on Belfast’s Kings Road to the most recent addition, Wilson’s SuperValu on the Garvaghy Road in Portadown, the chain now operates 37 stores across Northern Ireland.

In March 1996, Musgrave acquired four shopping centres and a supermarket – Belfast’s Kings Road, Downpatrick, Carrickfergus and Banbridge. These were to become the first of many SuperValu stores in Northern Ireland and then in June 1997, the group acquired 21 Wellworth stores which significantly expanded the network.

Nigel Maxwell Sales Director for SuperValu in Northern Ireland said –

 “At SuperValu, we are proud to mark our 25th year in Northern Ireland. Our colleagues and retail partners are embedded in the local communities they serve – providing customers with value, choice and convenience.  

“A key component of our strategy is supporting local and it is our collaborative approach with the outstanding local producers and suppliers that have ensured our shelves remained stocked and our customers happy.” 

SuperValu works with over 3,000 local farmers, in partnership with over 140 local suppliers and sell nearly 3,000 local products across their stores.  With impressive state-of-the-art store layouts and a strong emphasis on bringing new and innovative products and ranges to stores, SuperValu is leading the way in shopper experiences.

Nigel Maxwell continues –

 “Over the years, our focus has been on meeting the changing needs of today’s shoppers which has meant reimaging the look and feel of our stores. Despite the challenges of last year, we opened new stores in Ballynahinch and Portadown which followed revamps in Lisburn, Fruitfield and Aughnacloy. In addition, SuperValu Portstewart will be undergoing an extensive refurbishment later this year and I’m sure the local customers will be impressed.”

Local partnerships are at the heart of SuperValu and there is a strong emphasis on helping support local initiatives and charities. SuperValu, along with Centra, has been partnering with Action Cancer since 2001 and to date has raised over £3.1 million.

“At SuperValu, we have a very strong community focus and we wanted to reflect that, not only in the services we offer and food and drink that we sell, but also in the charities with whom we choose to work with. Our partnership with Action Cancer is one we are extremely proud of and to see the relationship grow and flourish over the years is testament to the commitment of our colleagues, stores and customers.”

To celebrate the 25-year milestone, the brand is giving away 25 prizes throughout March across their social media platforms as well as providing customers with some fantastic deals in store.

SuperValu’s 37 stores are located across Northern Ireland, for further information visit www.supervalu.co.uk/store-locator/.

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SuperValu, Centra & Mace Honoured at Leading NI Retail Awards

Stores from Ballymoney, Belfast, Carrickfergus and Portaferry Crowned Winners

Stores from across the SuperValu, Centra and Mace network were honoured last night at the 21st Neighbourhood Retailer Awards in Belfast.

Centra took home three awards with McGoveran’s Centra Cathedral Quarter picking up Neighbourhood Store of the Year (category 1), Watson’s Centra in Portaferry crowned Neighbourhood Store of the Year (category 2) and Centra Carrickfergus taking home the title of Forecourt of the Year.

Alastair Connor from McCools SuperValu in Ballymoney was named Store Manager of the Year while Mace, Castle Street Belfast was crowned CTN Store of the Year

The awards, a focal point for the retail industry every year, have been rewarding excellence and celebrating success in retailing since 1998. Independently and rigorously judged by Spotcheck, the Neighbourhood Retailer Awards are widely regarded as NI’s premier awards event for the industry, locally and nationally.

Congratulating all stores, Michael McCormack Managing Director of SuperValu, Centra and Mace in Northern Ireland said:

“Congratulations to all our stores on what is a great achievement to be honoured at this level. These wins are testament to the great value, customer service and offering we have across our store networks but also the hard work and dedication that is put in by our teams. Well done to all involved.” 

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SuperValu, Centra and Mace in Northern Ireland Join Forces with DELI LITES for New Food-to-Go Range

County Down based supplier working with leading NI convenience retailers

SuperValu, Centra and Mace have joined forces with Warrenpoint based Food-to-Go supplier, DELI LITES to launch an exciting new Fresh for You range for stores across Northern Ireland.

The brand-new range, with over 30 product lines including sandwiches, wraps and salads, is now available in 20 stores across the province with further rollouts taking place in the coming weeks.

Commenting on the partnership, Ed Bates, Food-to-Go Category Manager with SuperValu, Centra and Mace said: “Providing fresh food-to-go options for our customers across our network of SuperValu, Centra and Mace stores is at the heart of what we do. We are continually looking for opportunities to work alongside local suppliers and are delighted to partner with DELI LITES for our new Fresh for You range which has been carefully selected to suit a wide variety of tastes. From slim jims and deep fill sandwiches, to gourmet salads and flatbreads – there really is something for everyone.”

DELI LITES is a market leading and award-winning County Down based supplier, making and supplying salads and sandwiches for over 20 years.

Speaking about the new range, Barbara Hawkins, Key Account Manager with DELI LITES said: “We are delighted to collaborate with Musgrave NI to bring this new product range to the market. Our passion for food, innovation and the quality of our products are what drives us as a business and it has been extremely rewarding to work with Musgrave NI who pride themselves in Food Leadership as one of the key pillars of their business. This range will deliver consistently on flavour and quality across the store estate, whilst also injecting innovation and seasonality throughout the year.”

DELI LITES was founded by Brian and Jackie Reid in 1998 and employs 300 people at their production and Food Innovation Hub in Warrenpoint. The business produces over 20 million hand-made sandwiches, wraps and salads annually and distributes across Ireland, UK and Europe.

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Centra NI Honoured Among the Best in UK

Centra Retailers Honoured Among the Best in UK

Leading NI convenience retailer Centra was honoured last night in London at the 2019 Retail Industry Awards, taking home the title of “Convenience Retailer of the Year”. Lilley’s Centra Dublin Road in Enniskillen was also a winner picking up “Food-to-go Retailer of the Year”.

Speaking today Michael McCormack, Managing Director of Centra in Northern Ireland said:

“To be awarded Convenience Retailer of the Year is a great achievement for everyone associated with Centra and is testament to the hard work that has been put in over the years by our teams both at local and national level. As consumer demand for high quality convenience increases, Centra is responding with refreshed, inviting, modern stores that offer the latest in convenience and this award underlines this. 

“I would also like to congratulate Una Lilley and her team at Centra Dublin Road, Enniskillen who competed against some of the best stores in the UK, and brought home the Food-to-go Retailer of the Year award.” 

Bradley’s Centra in Maghera was highly commended in the Digital Engagement category for their digital enhancements both in store and at the fuel pumps while Centra Church Street in Banbridge was highly commended in the Forecourt Retailer of the Year category. SuperValu also received commendations with Kings Road in Belfast highly commended for National Lottery Retailer of the Year and Omagh for Post Office Retailer of the Year.

Widely regarded as ‘The Oscars’ of the grocery sector, the Retail Industry Awards reward excellence and outstanding achievement across a broad range of categories.

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Champion Health Promotion in Your Local School & They Could Win £5,000 worth of Sports Equipment from SuperValu and Centra Northern Ireland

  • SuperValu and Centra join forces with Action Cancer to help deliver Health Action Schools Programme and increase awareness of healthy lifestyle choices.
  • Parents can nominate schools taking part in the Health Action Programme to have a chance of winning £5,000 worth of sports equipment.
  • In addition, SuperValu & Centra continue to support Big Bus Services, driving home early cancer detection across the province.

Leading convenience retailers SuperValu and Centra are calling for your help to encourage local schools to avail of Action Cancer’s Health Action Programme. The initiative is all about encouraging young people to make healthier lifestyle choices. In operation since 2003 and having worked with nearly 500,000 pupils so far across Northern Ireland, the programme operates both at primary and secondary level and is delivered by a team of health promotion experts. You can express your interest by visiting www.actioncancer.org, emailing schools@actioncancer.org or call 028 9080 3370.

Furthermore, for the 2019-2020 school year, SuperValu and Centra are offering a prize of £5,000 of sports equipment to one of the schools participating in the Health Action Programme to incentivise registration and participation. To be in with a chance of winning, parents just need to nominate their school through entry forms provided on every Health Action Programme visit.

Speaking today, Michael McCormack Managing Director of SuperValu and Centra NI said:

“Delivering a healthy lifestyle message to today’s younger generation is important and something we at SuperValu and Centra passionately support. Encouraging healthier lifestyles in younger years can reduce the risks of cancer in later life, so our focus is in raising as much money as possible across our store network and head office to enable Action Cancer to continue providing this fantastic service”.

SuperValu & Centra also announced that Action Cancer’s Big Bus Service will now include Centra stores on its route for 2019. In the first half of 2019, the money raised by both retailers has enabled the Big Bus to travel to over 113 locations, provide over 1,200 MOT Health Checks and over 2,400 breast screenings, with an average of 6 women diagnosed with Breast Cancer per 1,000 women screened.

Michael McCormack continued:

“We are delighted to be working with Action Cancer to further extend the reach of the valuable services on offer. The Big Bus is an integral part of the work of Action Cancer delivering many success stories in terms of early detection and prevention. Our SuperValu retailers are a staple fixture on the Big Bus calendar and we are delighted to be extending the reach to our Centra stores too.

Gareth Kirk, CEO of Action Cancer, said:

“The schools Health Action Programme is an excellent initiative, empowering local children to make the right choices when it comes to their health and lifestyles. It is a natural fit that SuperValu stores, like their Centra neighbours, are now involved in endorsing this programme and promoting it within their local areas. 

The Big Bus mobile detection unit brings a life-saving service to our communities. The Big Bus has visited SuperValu stores for many years now and appointments have always been very strong during these visits, bringing early prevention, detection and support services to their customers staff and wider community. We’re delighted to see Centra stores join the visit schedule in 2019/2020”.

SuperValu and Centra have been partnering with Action Cancer since 2001 and are working towards raising one of the largest amounts ever by a company for an individual charity in Northern Ireland. By the end of 2019, the total raised for Action Cancer via the charity partnership will reach an outstanding £3 million.

To find out more about the Health Action Programme read more here. The full list of SuperValu and Centra store visits for the Big Bus can be viewed here. Screenings and health checks for both men and women are available to book online.

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Awards drive continues for SuperValu and Centra retailers

SuperValu and Centra stores in Northern Ireland have been shortlisted for a total of nine awards in six categories at Ireland’s Forecourt and Convenience Retailer Awards, highlighting once again the excellence on offer across both brands.

Ireland’s Forecourt and Convenience Retailer Awards, taking place on September 18th, are the only specialist awards in Ireland for the convenience and forecourt retailing industry. They act as a benchmark of success in the industry and are hotly contested each year.

The shortlistings are detailed below:

Forecourt Retailer of the Year

  • Lilley’s Centra Drumlyon, Co. Fermanagh
  • Moran’s Centra Coleraine, Co. Derry Londonderry

Newcomer of the Year

  • Centra Carryduff, Co. Down
  • Centra Dublin Road, Co. Fermanagh

Best Customer Service

  • Moran’s Centra Coleraine, Co. Derry Londonderry

Best Food To Go

  • Moran’s Centra Coleraine, Co. Derry Londonderry

Best Forecourt Facilities

  • Moran’s Centra Coleraine, Co. Derry Londonderry
  • Barbican SuperValu Newcastle, Co. Down

Store Manager of the Year

  • Alastair Connor, McCool’s SuperValu Ballymoney, Co. Antrim

In addition, Bell’s SuperValu in Crossgar is shortlisted for Northern Ireland Forecourt Trader of the Year at the 2019 Forecourt Trader Awards. These awards are regarded as the most prestigious event in the UK petrol retailing industry calendar and recognise the best in the business. The ceremony takes place on September 12th.

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Recent Centra store openings – Dungannon M1 and River House, Belfast

From l-r: Nigel Maxwell, Centra Northern Ireland Sales Director with Sharon and George Patterson, Dungannon M1 Store Owners[/caption]

We are delighted to announce the recent opening of two new Centra stores in Northern Ireland, Centra M1 Dungannon and Centra River House.

The highly anticipated brand-new store at Dungannon represents an investment of £2.2 million creating 50 new jobs in the area. It opened its doors to the public on Thursday 22nd August providing a welcome stop for those travelling to and from the west of the province. Centra M1 Dungannon marks the second store opening for local businessman, George Patterson of Patterson Oil who already owns Centra Gilford Road in Portadown.

Dungannon follows hotly on the heels of Centra River House which continues the brand’s Belfast City Centre expansion. The store opened to the public on Tuesday 13th August and is located on the ground floor of the new 13-storey building on High Street – the perfect convenience location for the numerous private offices and co-working spaces in the area and a welcome addition to the business community. With £400,000 investment, the new store creates 15 jobs and marks the fourth Centra store for owner Donagh McGoveran – adding to properties in Stranmillis, Malone Road and Donegall Street.

Welcoming the recent developments, Nigel Maxwell Sales Director Centra Northern Ireland said “At Centra, our focus is on redefining convenience – providing our shoppers with a healthier offering and innovative ranges, particularly in food-to go and our Frank and Honest coffee brand. Centra M1 Dungannon and Centra River House are the latest examples of our stores responding to the changing needs of the busy consumer.”

From l-r: Nigel Maxwell, Centra Northern Ireland Sales Director and Donagh McGoveran, River House Store Owner
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Supervalu and Centra retailers shortlisted for 15 prestigious Retail Industry Awards

SuperValu and Centra stores from across Northern Ireland in the running for esteemed retail accolades

Retailers from SuperValu and Centra have been shortlisted in the 2019 Retail Industry Awards, highlighting the excellence on offer across both brands.

Widely regarded as ‘The Oscars’ of the grocery sector, the Retail Industry Awards reward excellence and outstanding achievement across a broad range of categories, recognising independent retailers alongside the large supermarket groups.

Commenting on the shortlist, Michael McCormack, Managing Director of SuperValu & Centra in Northern Ireland said:

“I would like to congratulate all those stores that have been shortlisted in these prestigious UK-wide awards. Excellence is second nature to our retailers, whether that’s the customer service they provide or the food and drink they serve. This shortlist is testament to the hard work that has been put in over the years by our teams both at a local and national level.  We can now turn our attention to the awards night on September 17th and look forward to bringing home some wins for our retailers.”

SuperValu and Centra have been shortlisted in the following categories for this year’s Retail Industry Awards:

  • Convenience Retailer of the YearRegional – Centra NI
  • Digital Engagement AwardBradley’s Centra, Maghera, County Londonderry
  • Drinks Retailer of the YearIndependent – Lusty’s Centra Larne, County Antrim
  • Food-to-go Retailer of the Year
    • Independent – Lilley’s Centra, Dublin Road, Enniskillen, County Fermanagh
    • Multiple convenience – Musgrave NI
  • Forecourt Retailer of the Year
    • Independent – Lilley’s Centra, Dublin Road, Enniskillen, County Fermanagh
    • Company-owned – Centra Church Street, Banbridge, County Down
  • Multiple Community Retailer of the Year – SuperValu
  • Post Office Retailer of the Year – SuperValu Omagh, County Tyrone
  • Store Manager of the Year
    • Independent – Alistair Connor, McCool’s SuperValu, Ballymoney, County Antrim
    • Independent – Martin McLaughlin, McCool’s SuperValu, Kells, County Antrim
  • Store Team of the Year – Lilley’s Centra, Dublin Road, Enniskillen, County Fermanagh
  • Symbol/Fascia Group of the Year – Centra
  • Symbol/Fascia Group of the Year – SuperValu
  • Symbol Initiative of the Year – Live Well, Centra
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