LESLEY Griffiths, the Minister for Environment, Energy and Rural Affairs has congratulated Wales’ thriving Food and Drink Sector for achieving record turnover figures.
The sector has recorded a turnover of £7.47 billion, surpassing the Welsh Government’s target of £7 billion by 2020.
To mark the success of the industry, the Minister visited Princes Group’s Soft Drinks facility in Cardiff and Hensol Castle’s new craft gin distillery. Both companies have received funding from Welsh Government to grow their business and are examples of the ‘Foundational Economy’, providing essential jobs and infrastructure to the local economy.
Welcoming the figures, Lesley Griffiths said:
“I commend the industry for achieving our turnover target of £7 billion. This is the result of significant effort by the industry during uncertain times.”
“We produce a wide range of attractive, quality products, and more and more we are recognised as a small country doing great things which embody our values. Princes Group’s Soft Drinks and Hensol Castle Gin Distillery are prime examples of this.”
Andy Richardson, Chair of the Food and Drink Wales Industry Board added:
“The sector has achieved growth of 30% since 2014. This is a result of real collaboration between the Welsh Government and industry and shows we are on the right track to success.”
Now part of the Vale Resort, Hensol Castle has received support through the Welsh Government’s Tourism Investment Support Scheme to convert the basement of the castle into a craft spirit distillery, bonded warehouse, gin school and visitor experience as part of a £7 million scheme to bring the castle back into use.
The project will create 120 new jobs over the next three years.
Visitors will be able to distil their own bespoke bottle of gin made to their specific taste. In addition, they will be able to look around the distillery operation, learn about the history of gin and Hensol Castle, discover the ingredients that go into the different gins and enjoy a gin tasting and cocktail bar.
The drinks industry makes a significant contribution to the Welsh economy, with a turnover in excess of £800m, a Welsh retail sales value of over £950m and employing 1,200 people.
Princes Group’s Soft Drinks site in Cardiff was established in the 1990s and distribute their range of juices to major supermarkets across the UK. The company has received a grant to develop the technology at their site at Portmanmoor Road Industrial Estate in Cardiff. With a total investment of approximately £60m, the project will transform the site to a Soft Drinks Centre of Excellence.
Andy Hargraves, Group Director – Drinks at Princes Group, said:
“The project will increase Princes’ capabilities and allows us to work with customers more effectively and offer new product processing capability beyond juice. This investment is Princes biggest ever investment into Soft Drinks, and we are pleased to be committing to our long-term success in Cardiff.”