Crystal clear: Award winning pure water firm's ever growing demand
Celtic Pure's bottled water has won awards for its quality; now the company has the task of meeting the ever-growing demand for its highly regarded products
AN unshakeable belief in the quality of your product is sometimes all the drive you need to get a business off the ground.
Such was the case for Padraig and Pauline McEneaney, who started Celtic Pure in south County Monaghan back in 2000. The company produces bottled spring water for both the domestic and international market.
As Padraig McEneaney explains, the couple started Celtic Pure for two reasons. "We believed the quality and purity of our water was exceptional, and we also felt that over the years, bottled water would be more in demand. It was more of a gut feeling than anything, and we just went for it."
They are clearly doing something right; last October, Celtic Pure won a gold medal from the British Bottlers' Institute for the quality of its water. Last year also saw sales grow by 38pc.
The reason for such an increase? McEneaney says it's difficult to pinpoint, but the fact that people are becoming more health-conscious must be a factor. "People are more conscious of obesity, and sugar levels in drinks. Schools are trying to educate students about drinking healthier products, and people who are into sports are usually recommended water for rehydration. On top of that, there were some problems with water around the country, plus it was another good summer last year."
Whatever the reason, it's been a good couple of years for Celtic Pure, so much so that its biggest challenge of late has been keeping pace with demand. It is with this in mind that the McEneaneys have just poured €2.5 million into new machinery to increase production capacity. "We will soon have the most modern water-bottling line in the country," says McEneaney.
This year will see the company sell more than 50 million bottles of water. Many are for the domestic market, but they will also be shipped to the UK, China, Pakistan and Australia. The company also makes its own bottles (thanks to a hefty investment in a blow-moulding facility in 2008). This gives it an edge in production quality and environmental credentials.
Looking back, McEneaney says the company had to overcome challenges at various stages of its development. "In the early days, it was getting people to believe you had a product that would actually sell. Next, it was raising the capital funding to grow. The next issue was hiring staff and all the implications that go with that."
McEneaney's advice to anyone looking to set up in the sector is simple. "Have a vision, and be prepared for the long haul. Very few companies are an instant success. You always have to think big, think about where you want to be in five years' time - and stick to that."
Check out www.celticpure.ie