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.