Northern Ireland’s first minister celebrates Coca‑Cola HBC’s new canning line

Ireland's first minister celebrates the Knockmore Hill upgrades and movement to Sleek Cans. She stands with the deputy first minister and Coca Cola HBC employees holding Sleek Cans.

Northern Ireland’s Knockmore Hill Coca-Cola plant will see a second canning line installed. The line will support increased demand for can production with the capacity to produce 4.8 million cans per week. 

The upgrade will enable the plant to expand production capabilities and increase the number of products and pack sizes available. It will reduce the company’s reliance on external sourcing from other Coca‑Cola HBC facilities across Europe, most notably bringing the production of many of the Monster Energy products in-house.

The new line will also support Coca‑Cola’s transition to new taller “Sleek Cans”, launching this month. The move marks the most significant change in Coca‑Cola’s can offering for more than 70 years and is a first for the soft drink industry in Ireland and Northern Ireland. 

Coca‑Cola HBC’s general manager Miles Karemacher said:

“Our launch marks our evolution to the new stylish ‘Sleek Can’. This in turn furthers our journey towards a world without waste by enabling the transition to cardboard solutions for our multipack cans. We’re very proud to report that this move alone will eliminate 620 tonnes of shrink film plastic from the island of Ireland market annually.

I would like to sincerely thank the first minister and deputy first minister for joining us and for their continued support for our business.”

The announcement represents a key milestone in Coca‑Cola HBC’s growth and investment in Northern Ireland, where it has operated for more than 80 years. Coca‑Cola HBC directly employs 470 people in Northern Ireland and contributes to a further 370 jobs indirectly. It is a significant contributor to the region’s economy, delivering £36M in wages along its value chain and £70M in Gross Value Added.

First minister Arlene Foster said: “This is a significant development for Coca‑Cola HBC and their further £9.3m investment is also hugely significant for the local community and our economy.

It is a shining example of the kind of innovative and forward thinking that not only delivers increased production capabilities but also contributes positively to our shared sustainability agenda.”

The investment also supports Coca‑Cola’s journey towards a World Without Waste, by enabling the introduction of more sustainable secondary packaging for multipack cans. Innovative paperboard and cardboard packaging solutions for multi-pack cans will be introduced this year, eliminating 620 tonnes of shrink plastic from circulation annually. 

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