Coca-Cola announces new facility in Webster for lactose-free milk; projecting 250 jobs

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WEBSTER, N.Y. — The Coca-Cola Company will build a new facility in Webster to create lactose-free milk products, Gov. Kathy Hochul announced on Tuesday.

The 745,000 square-foot facility on Tebor Road could create up to 250 new jobs. The $650 million project will break ground in the fall and is expected to be completed in 2025.

Fairlife, owned by Coca-Cola, will use the Webster facility to filter milk, removing lactose and much of the sugar while leaving the protein and calcium. Some Fairlife products include protein shakes and meal replacement shakes.

Hochul said the facility will make a major impact on the agriculture industry in the Finger Lakes Region. Once complete, the facility is expected to be the largest dairy-producing plant in the Northeast. Empire State Development is providing up to $21 million in tax credits for the project for creating jobs.

Greater Rochester Enterprise, which supports economic development for the Rochester region, has been one of the leading organizers.

“GRE has been working with the company under a code name Izzo. This has been Project Izzo for 10 months, a highly confidential process that we manage with local partners,” said Matt Hurlbutt, President & CEO of Greater Rochester Enterprise. “So GRE takes the lead in that endeavor. I can tell you we have had countless calls everyday for those ten months, understanding the site requirements, the utility requirements, working with partners to meet their timelines, and ensure today’s announcement would actually take place.”

In a statement, Monroe County Executive Adam Bello said the facility will help the region’s high-quality milk reach new markets. He said it’s another example of how the region attracts innovative, high-tech food and beverage manufacturing. Hurlbutt said our region was well suited to take on a tough competition in negotiations.

“Our proximity to markets, access to freshwater – a key criteria for this project – as well as the dairy industry itself,” he said. “Our farming community is another reason why this company made this announcement. Our access to milk, water, talent, proximity to colleges and universities as they continue to innovate.”

The Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce was not involved in negotiations, but CEO Bob Duffy said he’s been awaiting the announcement. Duffy said the addition of 250 jobs will greatly benefit our agricultural industry. He calls it a major win for Monroe County and surrounding areas.

“In a sea of negativity, people often look for the glass half empty,” said Duffy. “I think our glass is not half empty. Things aren’t perfect, but thanks to the leadership of many people, successes like this happen. It really is a great benefit here for everyone. I’m ecstatic.”

The Coca-Cola Company released this statement:

The Coca-Cola Company has selected Webster, New York as its preferred location for a new fairlife production facility as part of the brand’s continued expansion in the Northeast market. This proposed facility represents the company’s ongoing investment in the continued growth of fairlife. We are looking forward to working collaboratively with the town of Webster and State of New York throughout this process.  For more information, you can view our website story here:  

Below is the full statement from Webster Town Supervisor Tom Flaherty:

“The Town of Webster is delighted to be selected by Fairlife as the location of its first northeastern US production facility. I would like to thank Governor Hochul, Empire State Development, Monroe County, and the Greater Rochester Enterprise for their leadership and guidance to bring this investment into our community. We are also extremely grateful to Fairlife’s leadership for the opportunity to be a partner in this important milestone decision for the corporation. The Town of Webster and the Webster Economic Development Alliance are ready, energized, and determined to support Fairlife as it embarks upon one of our community’s single largest manufacturing projects. The construction of the 745,000sf state-of-the-art facility will create high-paying jobs and provide economic opportunity for hundreds of families in and around our community.”