Pudding deal served up

A West Cork food brand, synonymous with the town of Clonakilty, has made a strategic site purchase, as part of a multi-million euro business development strategy.

Pudding deal served up

Clonakilty Blackpudding, which employs 45 and has been owned by the Twomey family since 1976, has bought a six acre site for new facilities, a kilometre from the town centre, with 300m frontage to the town’s relief road, and with access from Michael Collins Road opposite Dunnes Store. The site, previously Hills Mills and with commercial mill buildings in its centre, had been acquired by Fleming Construction in the mid-2000s for a reported €5-6m.

It was put up for sale last year with DTZ and Sherry FitzGerald O’Neill, for PWC receiver Billy O’Riordan, and is understood to have been bought for over €750,000.

Planning permission is being sought this week for a new, centralised building for Clonakilty Black Pudding, to include new product development and research testing kitchen, production facilities, offices, storage and distribution, as well as a visitor centre.

At present, the constantly evolving business is run from several locations, including 16 Pearse Street at the Twomey butchers’ shop, at the West Cork Technology Park, and at Little Island, in a bacon facility bought some years ago.

According to Clonakilty Blackpudding director Cal McCarthy, the aim is to have a phased development over the next two years or so, if planning is approved, with job numbers secured and the anticipation of further employment in Clonakilty.

“It’s like we are joined at the hip,” Mr McCarthy said of the top food brand and range, in relation to its base in the tourist and coastal town: “if people hear the name Clonakilty, they think of the pudding and if they hear of black pudding, they think of us,” he quipped.

The West Cork brand is in all Irish supermarkets, and is now exported to over 600 stores in the UK, including Waitrose, Tesco, Morrisons and Budgens, and is sold in the food halls of Fortnum and Mason, Selfridges and Harrods.

It also exports to Spain, France and the Netherlands, and recently started production under licence in Australia, aimed so far at the ex-pat market. It manufactures over 20 tonnes of pudding a week, with the UK market accounting for about 10% of that — and that’s the prime target growth market.

“We’re doing this investment to secure and grow our Irish business and develop new ranges, and especially to facilitate increasing our exports — there’s big opportunities there for us,” stated Mr McCarthy.

The newly-acquired six-acre site has a mixed zoning, which includes commercial/tourist zoning, and the proposed CBP visitor centre will be part of the new package, says the company.

* Details: DTZ Sherry FitzGerald, 021-4275454; Sherry FitzGerald O’Neill, 023-8833995; www.clonakiltyblackpudding.ie

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