Coca-Cola bottling franchises in Great Britain

Coca-Cola first came to Great Britain in 1900 when Charles Candler, son of the company's founder, Asa Candler, brought a jug of the syrup with him on a holiday visit and introduced the drink to a soda fountain owner in London. However, it was not until the 1920s that sales began to be significant. The Coca-Cola Company began bottling in a small plant in Brighton in 1932. By 1939, there were seven bottling plants - five owned by the parent company and two - one in Glasgow and the other in Belfast - by licensed bottlers. The war put a temporary halt to most of these operations until the late 1940s when operations set up again, principally in the hands of franchised bottling organisations.

The most significant new change was in 1987 when The Coca-Cola Company and Cadbury Schweppes plc. set up a jointly owned company to handle the soft drinks of both parent companies. Coca-Cola in cans, initially imported but then later filled by contract canners, were first marketed in the UK in 1961. In 1976, however, the company opened its own canning plant at Milton Keynes with its first line, at the forefront of technology in its time, capable of filling 1,500 cans a minute. Ten years later, when the company was celebrating its centenary, a second line was added with a filling speed of 2,000 cans a minute - then the fastest in the world.

Within four years of its existence, at a cost of £60 million, Coca-Cola and Schweppes Beverages Limited had opened Europe's biggest soft drinks production complex at Wakefield, with two lines capable of filling 2,000 cans a minute - to give a production capacity of over five million cans a day. In Northern Ireland, The Ulster Iced Drinks company Ltd, having been given a franchise in 1939, was given a new franchise and today operates as Coca-Cola Bottlers (Ulster) Ltd. This company is now owned by the Leventis Group, which also holds the franchise for the Republic of Ireland.

Products for home consumption are usually purchased through supermarkets in larger quantities and at a lower unit price than other distribution channels. Coca-Cola bottling franchisees work in close association with retailers and wholesalers to identify the sorts of packaging and quantities that home consumers prefer and to ensure packaging mixes, brands and flavours, merchandising and promotion, as well as stock and shelving are appropriate for the needs of consumers.

Coca-Cola Enterprises

Coca-Cola Enterprises is a publicly quoted company (on the New York Stock Exchange) and is the largest franchisee of Coca-Cola products. In addition to its operations in the United States, CCE holds the franchise for Belgium, The Netherlands, Great Britain and 90of France. Early in 1997, it acquired full ownership of Coca-Cola & Schweppes Beverages Ltd. It is therefore the largest of what Coca-Cola calls its 'anchor' bottlers. Coca-Cola Enterprises employs almost 50,000 individuals who operate the 310 facilities and is responsible for one million vending machines, beverage dispensers and coolers used to market, distribute and produce the Company's products.

Coca-Cola & Schweppes Beverages Ltd has some 3,500 employees in Great Britain with five plants in England (Edmonton and Sidcup in the London area, Milton Keynes, Wakefield and Colwall - where Malvern Water is sourced) and one in Scotland, at East Kilbride. Apart from holding the franchises for the products of The Coca-Cola Company and Cadbury Schweppes plc, CCSB has distribution agreements for such varied products as Appletise, Capri Sun, Perrier and Duchy Originals.

Coca-Cola Enterprises is responsible for bottling and distributing Coca-Cola to the markets it serves. Together with The Coca-Cola Company, it seeks to maintain the highest quality standards so that a consistent, high quality product is produced in each of the countries in which it operates. However, ensuring quality goes well beyond creating a refreshing drink which is instantly recognised as the 'only one Coca-Cola.' Bottlers additionally assume broader corporate responsibilities such as environmental management and they seek to develop and apply standards which go beyond regulatory compliance in this area.

The future of Coca-Cola depends on the relationships built by its bottling franchisees with the wholesalers and retailers they supply. Strong and enduring relationships in the supply chain leading to the consumer are of vital importance. For Coca-Cola Enterprises, this involves listening carefully to wholesalers and retailers to find out what sorts of product requirements they have - e.g. what size of containers and what types of packaging are most likely to sell in retail outlets.

Coca-Cola Amatil

Coca-Cola Amatil is the second largest of The Coca-Cola Company's international bottling partners which today operates in 18 countries throughout Australasia, South-East Asia, Central and Eastern Europe. It serves a market of over 450 million people and is No. 1 in every market in which it operates. Some of these markets are relatively mature in terms of opportunities for future sales expansion e.g. Australia and New Zealand, but others such as Poland, the Philippines and Indonesia, are growing at a fast pace. Coca-Cola Amatil is continually seeking to expand where new opportunities arise - particularly in Eastern Europe and South-East Asia. To meet increasing demand for capacity in Ukraine, for example, a large greenfield production facility is being completed in Kiev in 1997, as well as a new plant in Minsk, Belarus.

Coca-Cola Amatil is committed to the highest quality standards and has developed rotating environmental audits, intensive training of personnel at plant level and a continuing commitment to waste minimisation through all stages of production and distribution. The Company's environmental management initiatives have been recognised in Indonesia, where the Medan plant was presented with the Green Award for outstanding environmental efforts in both 1996 and 1997. CCA's plants in Brisbane and Perth were also commended by government authorities for their achievements in water conservation and recycling of waste water. These achievements highlight the important relationships that Coca-Cola has built with its bottlers throughout the world. Franchising arrangements involve a sharing of responsibility for products and corporate image. Organisations are only as successful as their public image. It is therefore essential for Coca-Cola to develop clear and well-thought-out partnerships with top quality bottling franchisees if it is to continue to remain the world's number one soft drinks company.

In many of the countries in which Coca-Cola Amatil operates, home consumption of Coca-Cola has been developing. In simple terms, consumers in South-East Asia and Eastern Europe are beginning to purchase supplies of Coca-Cola to enjoy in their own homes. Beverages purchased for home consumption already constitute around half of the total soft drink volume sold in the Australian and U.S. markets.


The Coca-Cola Company is continually expanding, working to meet consumers' needs for refreshing drinks. The strength of the Company is based on quality products, the power of the Company brand image and on the relationships that Coca-Cola has built with its franchisees and customers. Consumers want to associate with brand names they know and especially with ones which have built high reputations over a period of time. Faced with a choice, the consumer will prefer the brand which they know to be of the highest quality.


A Levi's case study


Levis is the best known jeans name on the planet. The business was founded by the Strauss family in 1875 and produced jeans for miners out of tent fabric and canvas. It then went on to make jeans from denim which is a coarse, heavy twill fabric. The jeans became popular with miners during the California goldrush and were famous for the twin rivets on the pockets.

The business went from strength to strength to become one of the twentieth centurys best known global brands. During the 1980s the company branched out into a range of garments including suits, before refocusing on one of its heritage products Levi 501s in the early 1990s. A TV commercial showing Nick Kamen stripping down to his boxer shorts in a launderette boosted the sales of all jeans, not just of Levi 501s and thousands of men switched to wearing boxer shorts.

The Levi Company has always had a reputation for innovation, bright ideas, excitement and enthusiasm. However, it has not always been so successful in maintaining the detailed processes necessary to ensure continued product success - hence the need for effective brand management. Brand management involves having the technical skills to create a successful brand management plan, as well as good ideas.

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