Cott is one of the world’s largest producers of beverages on behalf of retailers, brand owners and distributors, and has one of the broadest home and office bottled water and office coffee service distribution networks in the United States, with the ability to service approximately 90 percent of U.S. households, as well as national, regional and local offices.
Cott produces multiple types of beverages in a variety of packaging formats and sizes, including carbonated soft drinks, 100% shelf stable juice and juice-based products, clear, still and sparkling flavored waters, energy drinks and shots, sports drinks, new age beverages, ready-to-drink teas, beverage concentrates, liquid enhancers and freezables and ready-to-drink alcoholic beverages, as well as hot chocolate, coffee, malt drinks, creamers/whiteners and cereals. Cott’s large manufacturing footprint, broad distribution network, substantial research and development capability and high-level of quality and customer service enables Cott to offer its customers a strong value-added proposition of low cost, high quality products and services. In addition, Cott is now a national direct-to-consumer provider of bottled water, office coffee and water filtration services offering a comprehensive portfolio of beverage products, equipment and supplies to approximately 1.5 million customer locations through its network of over 200 sales and distribution facilities and daily operation of over 2,100 routes.
With approximately 9,500 employees, Cott operates approximately 60 manufacturing facilities and 180 distribution facilities in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom and Mexico. Cott also develops and manufactures beverage concentrates, which it exports to approximately 50 countries around the world.
North America Soft Drinks
Our history dates back to the 1950s when Harry Pencer’s children were introduced to Cott Black Cherry soda during their summers at Camp Winnipesaukee in New Hampshire. In 1952, Harry Pencer began importing Cott sodas into Canada and, three years later, established Cott Beverages Ltd., to bottle beverages in Quebec. Later that decade, Cott became the first company in the world to launch a diet soft drink, developing a formula by request for diabetic patients at the Royal Victoria Hospital in Montreal, Quebec.
Our entry into retailer brand beverages occurred in 1984, when Cott secured the business of A&P, Canada’s largest grocery chain at the time. In the early 1990s, we expanded our retailer brand business into the US.
We reached an important milestone in 2001, with the purchase of our retailer brand CSD formulations, the RC International business and our concentrate manufacturing and research and development facility from Cadbury Schweppes, making Cott a truly integrated beverage company.
Our rapid growth, both through acquisition and strong organic business growth, led the Company to move Cott's US listing to the New York Stock Exchange in 2002.
North America Juices
On August 17th, 2010, Cott acquired privately held Cliffstar Corporation, the leading private label manufacturer of shelf stable juices.
Cliffstar Corporation began over 100 years ago, when Meyer Star settled in the Dunkirk-Fredonia area in New York State. As an innovator in the rapidly growing grape industry, Meyer Star produced Star Wine in the heart of this Chautauqua County grape belt. From those beginnings, the Cliffstar Corporation evolved in the early 1970s and now produces shelf stable juices, teas, sports drinks, fitness waters, and vitamin waters.
In the 1970s the Star family added juices to their product portfolio with a packaging concept that was a true innovation at that time – using PET plastic resin for juice packaging instead of glass. Over the subsequent years, Cliffstar’s growth in private label juices quickly eclipsed sales of older products and Cliffstar recreated itself as North America’s largest private label juice producer.
In addition to serving thousands of private label lines with more than 145 blends of juices, Cott’s Cliffstar subsidiary presses most of its own grapes, cranberries, and prunes to ensure consistent quality, flavor, and color in all its beverages.
The Company's facilities include the most modern and sophisticated pressing and filtration equipment, large blending tanks, and numerous juice pasteurizers and coolers. Towering stainless steel tanks provide cold storage capacity in excess of 6 million gallons.
In 1986, Cott became a publicly traded company with listings on the Toronto and Montreal stock exchanges and six years later, Cott shares began trading in the United States on the NASDAQ exchange.
Throughout the 1990s and early 2000s, Cott made a series of acquisitions including Vess Beverages and Concord Beverages (with its well-known Vintage brand) in the US, and moved into the United Kingdom with the purchases of Benjamin Shaw & Sons Ltd. and Hero Drinks Group. Cott later entered Mexico with a joint venture that established manufacturing and marketing capabilities in that country.
In December 2014, we completed the acquisition by merger of DSS Group, Inc. (the “DSS Group”), parent company to DS Services of America, Inc. and its subsidiaries (collectively “DSS”), a leading bottled water and coffee direct-to-consumer services provider in the United States. As a result, Cott is a national direct-to-consumer provider of bottled water, office coffee and water filtration services offering a comprehensive portfolio of beverage products, equipment and supplies to approximately 1.5 million customer locations through its network of over 200 sales and distribution facilities and daily operation of over 2,100 routes.
Royal Crown Cola International (RCCI)
With Cott’s 2001 acquisition of the RCC International business, concentrate manufacturing and research and development facility from Cadbury Schweppes, Cott became a global supplier of soft drink, energy and other beverage concentrates to independent bottlers around the world.
With concentrate sales to over 50 countries, Cott supplies RC® branded cola concentrates around the world. Key customers reside in Asia, Latin America, Europe and the Middle East.
In 2002 Cott entered into a joint venture to manufacture and sell private label soft drinks and bottled water to major retail and other customers in Mexico. Cott’s bottling facility in Puebla is located to provide access to the Mexico City metropolitan area as well other regions to the south. Cott’s customers in Mexico include large multinational beverage companies and retailers as well as smaller distributors
In 2005, Cott completed the acquisition of Macaw Soft Drinks in the UK. The addition of Macaw nearly doubled our UK business and gave Cott its first inroad into aseptic, or preservative-free, drink production.
Cott’s UK operations include three major bottling facilities in Kegworth (which is also home to Cott’s UK business unit headquarters), Bondgate and Nelson. Since 2007, Cott’s traditional core business in private label soft drinks to major retailers has expanded with growing sales in sports and energy isotonic categories through wholesale channels into various retail stores and outlets.
In June 2013, Cott’s U.K. reporting segment acquired 100% of the share capital of Cooke Bros Holdings Limited, which includes the subsidiary companies Calypso Soft Drinks Limited and Mr. Freeze (Europe) Limited. Calypso Soft Drinks produces fruit juices, juice drinks, soft drinks, and freezable products in the United Kingdom.
In May 2014, Cott’s UK operations acquired 100% of the share capital of Aimia Foods Holdings Limited, which includes its operating subsidiary company, Aimia Foods Limited pursuant to a Share Purchase Agreement dated May 30, 2014. Aimia produces and distributes hot chocolate, coffee and powdered beverages primarily through food service, vending and retail channels, and produces hot and cold cereal products on a contract manufacturing basis.