The manufacturer behind popular soft drink brands JUICEBURST and Firefly was originally founded in 1892 and is one of the oldest companies in the UK. Both brands are stocked nationwide, with JUICEBURST available in Sainsbury’s, Morrisons, Asda and Tesco as well as schools, offices and thousands of cafes across the UK. Firefly is available in Booths, Co-op, Waitrose and Ocado, plus several restaurants, including Yo Sushi.
Beginning life by supplying soft drinks by horse drawn dray to people across Wednesbury, Purity was bought by RAF Pilot Douglas Cox on his return from WWII. It remained under the ownership of the Cox family until it was acquired by private equity firm Langholm Capital in 2012. In 2021, the business was acquired by Verdane, who are focused on building on the brands history and growing it further.
Throughout this time, it has remained one of the region’s key employers. Today, the business has a team of more than 60 people, with roles ranging from manufacturing operations at its main site in Wednesbury through to finance, marketing and business management.
During his visit Mr Bailey received a tour of the company’s headquarters and manufacturing facility from Purity Soft Drinks chief executive Sarah Baldwin and met a number of long-standing employees from the business.
Speaking about the anniversary, Sarah said: “Purity Soft Drinks has a fantastic heritage here in Wednesbury and, as we celebrate completing our 130th year in business, it’s a great opportunity to reflect on all that the business has achieved over those years.
“From the humble beginnings of its foundation in 1892, the business has grown over time to become one of the region’s longest standing and most well respected manufacturers. We’re responsible for two of the UK’s fastest growing and most exciting soft drinks brands in JUICEBURST and Firefly. And we continue to act as a major employer committed to providing high quality jobs for people in the region.
“The entire team can be really proud to be playing a role in this brilliant business’s journey – and as we look forward to the year ahead, we’re all really excited by the chance to write our next chapter. We know that the economic climate is challenging for many people and businesses. However, with our hard-earned reputation as one of the region’s premier businesses and continued growth in demand for our excellent tasting, natural & healthier drinks, we are confident the business can continue to thrive throughout 2023 and beyond.”
Last year saw the business achieve a number of substantial milestones, selling over 55 million bottles as it continued to experience rising demand for its juice brand, JUICEBURST, and premium botanical drinks brand, Firefly, despite challenging market conditions.
Its anniversary year saw the business secure listings for Firefly in Co-op stores across Central England for the very first time. It also saw the Firefly brand make its advertising debut on television as part of the ‘Bottled Stillness’ campaign, which showcased Firefly’s premium botanical drinks as the perfect excuse to take a moment to reset during a busy day.
JUICEBURST also secured new listings in Sainsbury’s, Asda and Co-op stores across the country last year, significantly expanding its distribution in response to growing consumer demand for tasty, HFSS compliant soft drinks.
Mr Bailey said: “Purity Soft Drinks are the embodiment of Black Country ingenuity. The longevity of the business comes down to the continued drive for excellence in its processes, in-built resilience as a result of continuing to adapt and its commitment to the community in Wednesbury.
“It is great to see that the company’s reach extends far and wide, including to the Houses of Parliament, where JUICEBURST is proudly on sale. We can learn so much from Purity Soft Drinks, particularly as we look to drive forward our growth agenda, both locally, in the Black Country and nationally. Thank you to Sarah and the team for a fantastic visit."