Pembrokeshire and its ancient rock
Pembrokeshire is beautiful, simple as that. It’s a Welsh county full of history and awesome geological features with the longest coastal national park in the UK. It’s one of those rare places that has both sandy beaches and wild mountainous landscapes. For the sake of our story we’ll focus on these mountains. The Preseli Mountains to be precise. The mountains are made up of ancient rock, some of which was formed between 600 and 290 million years ago. This is where our water comes from.
It’s a family affair
It all began on an organic farm in a remote corner of Pembrokeshire with David and Glyn Jones and their parents bottling Princes Gate water by hand. It started as an experiment in the family’s efforts to diversify their farming practices. They managed to produce just 36 bottles a day in their microplant.
Full to the brim
Demand for our water steadily increased and eventually every farm outhouse and converted barn were full to bursting with staff and stock so plans had to be made for a fully fledged bottling plant. This gave us some room to grow and improve our supply whilst also setting us in good stead to put in place some good working and environmental practices.
Supporting (and hydrating) our Welsh sporting heroes
Our relationship with the Welsh Rugby Union and the Football Association of Wales began over a decade ago. We have shared years of sporting ups and downs, lots of laughs and of course a lot of hydration. We now support many other sporting bodies including Cardiff City and the Scarlets. Our partnership with the Welsh Rugby Union in particular started in 2008, the year the boys went on to win the Six Nations Grand Slam – coincidence?
Proud to stock
Along our journey we’ve been incredibly proud to stock some of Britain’s most loved brands and help keep their customers nice and hydrated. Here’s just a handful of our customers…
A busy old time
In the space of just a few years we made great leaps in terms of lessening our environmental impact as we grew. Firstly, by considerably reducing the weight of our bottles, allowing us to go on to save over 250 million grams of plastic every year and a huge amount of energy used in transportation. We also undertook the rather big job of replacing the dirty old diesel generators which fuelled the factory with 3 phase electricity, a much cleaner and more efficient source of energy.
There was also a massive investment made in the purchase of a £1.5m bottle blower. So instead of shipping finished bottles from a third party manufacturer we now have tiny little preforms which are then blown into our carefully designed bottles on site. This has dramatically reduced our raw material PET truck loads from 1,000 to just 50 per year.
Our environmental efforts started to attract some attention and in 2014 we started to work with The Carbon Trust, soon becoming a Best Practice Case Study for them. This included achieving Zero to Landfill verification. We wanted to make a difference, not only with our environmental efforts but also by reaching out to those in need. We have proudly supported many charities close to our heart over the years, including Ty Hafan and Noah’s Ark Children’s Charity, but 2014 saw us establish the Princes Gate Trust. Since then, the Trust has supported and helped many deserving children and young people in need, of which we are immensely proud.
During this time we invested heavily in renewable energy at our factory, installing a wind turbine as well as solar panels, enabling us to become the first soft drinks manufacturer in the UK to be totally self sufficient from green energy produced on site. To top it off we created wildflower meadows and planted trees around the farm. We were rewarded with a Royal visit from HRH Queen Elizabeth. Very fancy indeed.
We’ve come a long way
From filling bottles by hand to state of the art production! This is when we invested in a high speed production line, the very first of its kind in the UK. This meant we could start to keep up with increasing demand and provide more customers with our lovely natural mineral water.
Introducing recycled plastic into our range
We were one of the first bottled water companies to start using recycled plastic from within the UK in our bottles. This helped us to minimise our carbon footprint and reduce waste further. We now use a minimum of 51% recycled plastic across our whole range and use only UK waste as much as we can. We’ve done a lot to make sure we minimise our impact but we can and will do more. We’ll continue to talk to customers about recycling and work with them to encourage re-use and educate future generations about better recycling practices.
Our team is central to our story, it’s them who have always gone the extra mile to make improvements to our water, our environmental practices and our service. We believe in the personal touch and our custom is based on good relationships, this is how we like to work. We’re excited to see where this team and our story takes us next.