Our Story

About McDaid's & Sons.

Nothing accompanies a warm summers day quite like a bottle of Football Special. Beach football, street football and football on the green all share three things in common; their importance, jumpers for goalposts and McDaids Football Special.

Over 50 Years in Business

Since 1949 McDaids have been developing soft drinks to go with any occasion. Football Special was originally born to help celebrate the numerous successes of local football club, Swilly Rovers. The drink called “Football Cup” was designed to “fill the cup” with an exciting non-alcoholic beverage. Later the name was changed to Football Special but the unique taste stayed the same.

Our Secret Ingredient

At McDaids we are proud of its legacy with the most common question being what’s in a bottle of Football Special? Well simply it’s a blend of 7 different flavours – which we won’t name here!!- which is then mixed with carbonated water. Following the addition of the secret ingredient a bottle is born.

Having successfully developed one product we turned our attention to other flavours. After an uncle went away to America we developed American Ice Cream Soda in his honour and ice-cream floats were never to be the same again. Smooth Banana was born high in the Banana plantations of Donegal. Exotic Pineapple was developed to cool the natives down, in the hot humid winter months. All products share one thing in common, the underlying quality that we in McDaids have always strived towards. Crack a bottle open today and watch the magic unfold as you pour a bottle of mineral, from the McDaids of Donegal.

Since 1949

James McDaid & Sons Ltd was incorporated in 1949 to take over the business of James McDaid a sole trader. Mr. McDaid was a farmer turned shopkeeper. Initially in addition to the shop Mr. McDaid and his eldest son James operated a van sales business, it was through this enterprise that James found the know-how which would later develop into a drink distribution company. James Jnr inherited a public house and was aware of the nature of supplies to that business.

Modern Bottling Technology

In 1949 the public house was sold and the proceeds used to expand the van sales by the acquisition of a number of agencies for beer distribution and Mitchells, a small beer wholesaler in the locality. In 1958 a bottling contract was secured from Arthur Guinness and the technology learned was applied to soft drinks production. An old creamery was bought, which had its own spring water source, and a small soft drinks factory was established and used to develop a unique range of drinks including Football Special. As the business grew its production was outsourced to a selected partner to avail of efficiencies of scale and modern bottling technology.