Sept / Oct 2016 | Business View Caribbean

100 September 2016 - Business View Caribbean Business View Caribbean - September 2016 101 The St. Kitts Bottling Company Ltd. Getting it right on soft drinks The St. Kitts Bottling Company (SKBC) was formed in 1954, when a group of local entrepreneurs purchased a small bottling operation in Basseterre. According to Keithley Phillip, SKBC’s current Director, before that time, the island was importing its soft drinks from An- tigua. “The company started with 12 employees,” says Phillip. “We started with our first brand, a local, indig- enous brand called ‘Sparkle.’ About two years later, we started our Coca-Cola franchise agreement.” The com- pany continued to bottle and sell that world-famous soft drink for over 50 years, only ending the relation- ship in early 2015. “We are manufacturers and wholesalers,” says Phillip. “We produce for the federation of St. Kitts and Nev- is, and we also export to the United States, St. Croix and St. Thomas, the British Virgin Islands, Montser- rat, Anguilla, Dominica, and St. Lucia.” The company’s ‘Sparkle’ brand flavors include Lime, Banana, Cream Soda, Sorrel, and Cola Champagne. “And we have been increasing the number of flavors that we offer,” Phillip adds. “In October 2015, we launched four addi- tional flavors: Sparkle Grape, Sparkle Orange, Sparkle Tropical Fizz, which is a lemon/lime-based drink, and our Sparkle Tropical Cola. And we do not produce just soft drinks. We also produce water, which is known as ‘Aqua Vita.’ In a competitive marketplace, Phillip believes that one of his company’s advantages lies in the fact that it is the only soft drink producer on the island. “However, because of the openness of our economy, there are other Caribbean producers that export to St. Kitts,” he says. In addition, Coca-Cola, with whom SKBC is no longer associated, still maintains a distribution pres- ence in the southern Caribbean. “What differentiates us are two things,” Phillip maintains. “The quality of our product is well-known, having been in existence for 60-odd years; and there’s also the local component – persons are more ‘touched’ because it’s a local com- pany.” While SKBC continues to preserve its share of the lo- cal market, it is also pursuing business outside of the country. “In terms of new markets, we are in serious discussion with a company out of St. Lucia,” says Phil- lip. “We will be bottling for them under a different label, and shipping to them under a co-pack arrangement. AT A GLANCE WHO: The St. Kitts Bottling Company Ltd. WHAT: A manufacturer and wholesaler of bottled water and soft drinks WHERE: Basseterre, St. Kitts & Nevis WEBSITE :