Suntory breweries, through its Alexiya Corporation, on Monday officially opened a new £13m production line at its Drogheda base in Co Louth. The new 4,000 sq metre line was commissioned by local MP Brian Hayes, the South Leitrim TD, and Ian Brookes, group commercial director of Alexiya.

Today’s welcome event highlighted the company’s commitment to Drogheda, the economic benefit that Drogheda is enjoying from Suntory’s presence in the area, and the company’s ongoing investment and commitment to Ireland.

The investment in the production line is part of a £30m investment in the company’s businesses over the next three years as Suntory seeks to ensure that it remains a major global player with global facilities. A number of Suntory’s businesses in Ireland operate on the Production-line in Drogheda.

The line currently employs 65 people and further investment in Suntory’s Drogheda headquarters and commercial presence, including the new cold storage facility and the development of a new central management operation based at Carrickmines, is expected.

Suntory increased its annual workforce in Ireland to 250 as it launched a major new 20,000 hectolitre-a-year beer that was set to open for sale in the UK and Irish market earlier this month.

The imported premium beer has been developed in collaboration with iconic global spirits and beer brand, Lucozade Ribena. The beer features Suntory’s unique micro-lot process (Tricolour Process) for the manufacturing of the seven core flavours. Lucozade Ribena was initially released in Japan in 2018, but will launch in Ireland, the UK and Europe in March.

“Since launching in Japan, Suntory has enjoyed significant growth in its newest market,” Brooks said. “This growth will fuel Suntory’s ambition to become a major global beer producer and we are dedicated to developing our beer production lines in Ireland to meet that need. The opening of the production line in Drogheda is another milestone in our long-term strategy to develop our beer business in Ireland.”

Brooks added: “Our latest investment in this new manufacturing process is in Drogheda, demonstrating our continued commitment to the area. The new production line will employ 65 people over the next 18 months and more significant future investments in our businesses are expected. As of 2020, our operations here will increase from employing 50 to 250 people.”