In the last of a four-part series looking at finalists for the Cork Company of the Year Awards 2018, Pádraig Hoare casts an eye over those in the Corporate category.
The producer of the most well-known and successful Irish whiskeys, Irish Distillers, is already a major success in the global drinks industry, but remains thirsty for more.
Irish Distillers is one of Ireland’s leading suppliers of spirits and wines and producer of the world’s most successful Irish whiskeys.
Led by Jameson, the distillery’s brands are driving the global renaissance of Irish whiskey.
Jameson is the fastest-growing brand of Irish whiskey, experiencing 29 years of consecutive growth and hitting sales of 7.3m cases in 2017/18.
From Cork, Irish Distillers’ brands are exported to over 130 markets, with over 80 of those experiencing double or triple-digit growth in 2018.
The rise has been a remarkable Cork story in the past 23 years.
Having sold fewer than 500,000 cases of Jameson in 1996, Irish Distillers has led the Irish whiskey renaissance which has swept the globe.
With €340m invested in east Cork since 2012, the company has seen a 70% increase in sales in the last six years, selling 7.3 million cases of Jameson as well as diversifying interest in Irish whiskey with brands like Redbreast, Method & Madness, Powers, the Spot Whiskey range and Midleton whiskey.
Irish Distillers was formed in 1966, when a merger took place between John Power & Son, John Jameson & Son and Cork Distilleries Company.
In 1988, Irish Distillers joined Pernod Ricard, gaining access to unprecedented levels of investment and an extensive global distribution network.
The company employs 230 people across its operations in Cork. Irish Distillers is the market leader for Irish whiskey both in Ireland and in over 80 countries worldwide.
The investment continues. In October last year, Irish Distillers announced the investment of over €130m upgrading the distillery in Midleton, and the maturation site in Dungourney, to meet demand.
For Irish Distillers, it is a tremendous honour to be nominated in the Corporate category of the Cork Company of the Year Awards, not just for the firm, but also all in east Cork who have helped it to become a global success.
General manager of Midleton Distillery at Irish Distillers, Paul Wickham said: “Irish Distillers is humbled to be among such illustrious company as a finalist in the Cork Corporate Company of the Year Awards. While our products are enjoyed the world over, we are proud that they all begin in Cork having operated in the beautiful town of Midleton since 1825.
"It also provides us with lush fertile farmland to source our grain, with all the barley used in production is sourced from farms located within 100 miles of the distillery, many of which have produced barley for centuries.
“We look forward to building upon the county’s success story for years to come.”
Pharmaceutical giant Pfizer has become synonymous with Cork over the past 50 years, and plans to be in the county for 50 more.
The world’s largest biomedical research and pharmaceutical company is one of Ireland’s leading employers, with a workforce of more than 3,200 people across six locations.
According to the firm, Pfizer employees in Cork and Ireland work across developed and emerging markets to advance wellness, prevention, treatments, and cures that challenge the most feared diseases of our time.
It was also one of the first pharmaceutical companies to locate in Ireland, establishing its first base at Ringaskiddy in 1969.
Over 800 people are now employed in Little Island and Ringaskiddy.
In May this year, Pfizer will celebrate 50 years in its Ringaskiddy site — a major milestone for the company, it says.
Total capital investment by Pfizer in Ireland exceeds $7bn (€6.15bn) and its business interests in this country range across manufacturing, shared services, R&D, treasury, and commercial operations.
Pfizer exports bulk pharmaceuticals, the active ingredients in its medications for humans and animals, from its large plant in Ringaskiddy to Pfizer plants around the world. In 2014, a $30m specialist high-tech laboratory facility opened at the site. The investment, supported by the Department of Jobs through IDA Ireland, enabled the Ringaskiddy plant to meet the move to smaller volume, new products requiring unique technology and capability.
The Ringaskiddy facility is also the main active pharmaceuticals ingredients site globally for scaling up new products in co-operation with Pfizer Global Research and Development to ensure the timely approval and launch of these new products.
Pfizer said it takes its role in the community very seriously, giving back through school partnerships and supporting local charities and sporting organisations.
To be nominated in the Corporate Category of the Cork Company of the Year Awards is fitting recognition for the employees of the firm in the county, Pfizer said.
Site leader at Pfizer Ringaskiddy, Clair Murphy, said: “We are delighted to have been selected as a finalist in the Corporate Category of the Cork Company of the Year Awards. This is testament to the hard work of our 800 colleagues onsite in Ringaskiddy and Little Island who each play a key role in the discovery and the development of medicines that can significantly improve patients’ lives.
“Pfizer Ireland will celebrate 50 years since our opening in Ringaskiddy, we have big celebrations planned nationwide in 2019, and we look forward to another successful 50 years in business.”
It has been an inexorable rise for Zenith Technologies, the Cork firm that has taken the life sciences sector by storm over the past 20 years.
Zenith Technologies powers patient health by delivering manufacturing software globally to the life science sector.
Having begun life as an SME some 20 years ago, Zenith now employs approaching 900 employees across the world, in 16 offices.
Headquartered in Ringaskiddy, it has more than 230 employees in Cork and they are an integral part of the global operation, ranging from direct employment of individuals to the employment of contractors including engineering, finance, human resources, and administration.
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A particularly strong graduate programme has seen the firm’s recently-qualified engineer numbers across the country reach 50.
The proof is in the pudding, and Zenith is the current Pharma Supplier of the Year in Ireland. It also achieved Great Place To Work status for a second year in a row, while it has qualified as a Deloitte best-managed company for a number of years.
It is that investment in the best recruits, as well as continuous up-skilling and training of talent, that has allowed it to rise to become a global player, Zenith said. Its software systems secure the supply of vital treatments to patients worldwide. The firm specialises in implementing and supporting automation, manufacturing execution systems, and digital solutions that manage, control, and optimise manufacturing plants to improve operational effectiveness.
With experience in the delivery and management of more than 35 technologies, the firm says it prides itself on being vendor-independent.
Operating across five continents, Zenith partners with leading pharma and biotech companies.
It supports customers from initial consultation to project implementation, commissioning, and qualification, site maintenance, and continuous learning, and delivers performance improvements, reduced costs, total compliance, and improved operator skills through customer partnership.
To be nominated in the corporate category of the Cork Chamber of the Year Awards is wonderful recognition for the business after 20 years, and all the more special in its hometown, Zenith said.
Founder and executive chairman Brendan O’Regan said: “We are all tremendously happy to have been selected as a finalist in the Corporate Category of Cork Company of the Year Awards.
“This is great recognition for us all at Zenith and for our 20 years of doing business in Cork. Cork is also home to our corporate headquarters for our global business, which makes the nomination all the more special.”