Upton Group kicks off season with major Leeds United coffee contract

A MAJOR contract to provide all the filter coffee to a range of outlets at Leeds United Football Club (LUFC) has been won by Yorkshire vending machine and refreshments systems company, Upton Group.

Around 4,200 kgs of filter coffee – an estimated 270,000 cups – a year, driven by sales, and 15 coffee machines are being provided to LUFC, Elland Road, Leeds, in Upton Group’s first contact with a major league football club.

The initial contract was secured on a five-year deal by Upton Group’s business development manager, Sam Britton, with help from York Emporium representative, Lauren Perkins and includes decaffeinated coffee and beans for the Elland Road complex, the 14th largest football stadium in England which has been the club’s headquarters since it was founded in 1919.

LUFC representatives visited Upton Group’s artisan coffee roaster, York Emporium, to sample various coffees and chose its Mocha Java blend, which is now being served in all hospitality suites and boxes in the ground, including all non-match day events, weddings and VIP dinners.

Upton Group, a family business founded by chairman, Alec Upton, a lifelong Leeds United fan, in a room above a Selby sweet shop run by his wife in 1966, aims to work alongside LUFC catering staff to increase the volume of coffee and number of dispensing machines supplied.

Leeds United general manager, Rob Smyth, says: “There is no doubt that people’s expectations about the quality of coffee they wish to drink has changed and this is why we are delighted to work with a Yorkshire-based top-quality supplier.

“We visited York Emporium for a coffee tasting and were taken by their tremendous enthusiasm for what they do. The Mocha Java blend ticked all the boxes.

“The coffee will mainly be served at conferences, events and match day hospitality. We want to be different and quirky and I believe York Emporium and Upton Group can help us achieve this. “

Upton Group chairman, Alec Upton, 76, says:  “Winning any large contract is great news. However, as LUFC supporters and with any chance of a football-playing career now long gone, this is the closest we can come to living the dream.

“We believe Leeds United is developing strongly again with promotion possible this year and we will be very proud to be associated with this success in our own small way. “

The Upton Group, which has more than 70 staff, also has bases in Scarborough, York and Hull and supplies a wide range of refreshment systems for dispensing hot and cold drinks, confectionary and snacks, fresh foods and sandwiches, chilled water as well as artisan, hand-roasted coffees to a wide spectrum of enterprises from SMEs to international businesses throughout the UK.

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