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Coca-Cola UNITED celebrates start of $330 million Alabama growth project

Coca-Cola Bottling Company United Inc. (UNITED) today hosted a ceremony to commemorate the groundbreaking of its new facility in Birmingham’s Kingston community as part of a $330 million investment project that will create 50 jobs.

At the event, Coca-Cola UNITED President and CEO Mike Suco reflected on the rich history and longevity of Coca-Cola in Birmingham and surrounding areas.

Founded in 1902 by Crawford Johnson Sr. in a modest facility in downtown Birmingham, Coca-Cola UNITED has grown to become the second largest privately held, family-owned company in Alabama and the nation’s third largest Coca-Cola bottler.

“While I have the honor of leading our company during this exciting chapter, this moment wouldn’t be possible without our past and present leadership, our community partners, our customers, our consumers, and last but not least, our associates,” Suco said.

“Birmingham has been our home for 122 years, and Birmingham will remain our home well into the future,” he added.

Alabama economic growth

Governor Kay Ivey highlighted the company’s track record of growth and praised its unwavering commitment to Alabama.

“As we stand on this site today, it’s important to recognize Coca-Cola’s journey here in Alabama – with what began as a mule-drawn wagon to this upcoming state-of-the-art facility,” Governor Ivey said. “This new campus will create jobs and secure existing ones, further boosting our economy.

“It is through strong relationships that we have reached this defining moment, and I am proud that the community here has made it easy for Coca-Cola United to continue to call Birmingham their home,” she added.

The governor concluded her remarks at the groundbreaking ceremony with a call to action.

“Now, let’s celebrate by getting some dirt tossed and some Cokes drank,” she said.

‘UNFORGETTABLE GATEWAY’

Touted as a gateway to Birmingham, the new facility will sit on the former Stockham Valves and Fittings site on 40th Street North and will be highly visible to passing motorists along Interstate 20/59.

The new facility will house the Birmingham Coca-Cola sales center and warehouse, as well as Coca-Cola UNITED’s Corporate, Central Region and North Alabama Division headquarters. The company’s Classic Food and Vending arm, customer solutions center and services department will also be housed in the facility.

The project was officially announced in May. Construction on the new facility is slated to last about three years.

“Coca-Cola UNITED’s magnificent new facility will stand as an unforgettable gateway to the Magic City and broadcast the strong message that Birmingham is a great place to build a long-lasting business,” said Ellen McNair, Secretary of the Alabama Department of Commerce.

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A COCA-COLA TOAST

At the event, Coca-Cola UNITED Board Chairman Conrad Rafield led the crowd in a Coca-Cola toast to mark the occasion, citing the company’s foundational values of family, service and community.

Joining Rafield on stage during the toast were Coca-Cola UNITED Board Vice Chairman and former President and CEO John Sherman and Birmingham Coca-Cola associates with over 40 years of service to the company.

“We believe the communities we serve are not just our neighbors, but an integral part of our Coca-Cola UNITED family,” Rafield said. “We are committed to supporting and growing together for many years to come.”

Other speakers at the event included Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin, District 4 Birmingham City Councilor J.T. Moore, Jefferson County Commission President Pro-Tem Joe Knight, and District 1 Jefferson County Commissioner Lashunda Scales.

This story originally appeared on the Alabama Department of Commerce’s Made in Alabama website.

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