Pouring it on . . . Suki invests £500,000 in new 'tea factory' in Lisburn

Suki Tea co-founders Oscar Woolley and Annie Irwin
Gary McDonald Business Editor

LOOSE-leaf tea company Suki is pouring £500,000 into a new 7,500 sq ft fully solar and renewable energy-powered headquarters office and factory site in Lisburn.

Suki Tea was formed from friendship between founders Annie Irwin and Oscar Woolley in 2005, and has grown to be a leading loose leaf tea brand supplying thousands of hotels, cafes and delis across the UK, Ireland and further afield.

Its new purpose-built tea factory will allow it to double manufacturing and warehousing capacity, bolster distribution, and help continue its expansion into 30 countries including Japan, to where is has been exporting since its earlier days.

With the new factory opening, Suki expects to increase its production capacity by 600 per cent over the next decade, creating additional jobs in many areas of the business.

And it believes the new state of the art factory will help it continue delivering excellence for its wide customer base and provide a perfect creative space for innovation in blending and recipe creation, along with a dedicated 'tea-rista' training room for customers.

The new factory - which is 100 per cent powered by renewable energy sources including a 10kW solar PV system - has also allowed Suki to reduce its emissions to zero, superseding its own target of a 50 per cent reduction by 2030.

Co-founder Annie Irwin said: “As a long-term supporter of Fairtrade and a committed Real Living Wage Employer, it’s important to us that we operate day-to-day in as ethical and sustainable a way as possible.

“Over the years, this has included championing several business initiatives and strategy creation, taking the Climate Action Pledge laid out by Business in the Community and being named top performing small business at the 2021 Environmental Benchmarking Awards.”

Fellow co-founder Oscar Woolley added: “As we celebrate our 18th year in business, this new premises is a fantastic opportunity for Suki to continue to grow.

“Moving from three business units to one purpose-built factory allows us to make our production processes and logistics more efficient, expand our product offering and create new jobs.

“Our mission has always been to create a community of loose-leaf tea drinkers across the globe, and with continued investment into our facilities, equipment and our team, we believe we can remain at the forefront of the loose-leaf tea industry in the UK, Ireland and around the world.

“What started as an idea between friends has grown beyond our wildest dreams – and we’re raising a cup to everyone who has got us here.”