ALBANY, N.Y. — New York Gov. Kathy Hochul announced Tuesday that the Coca-Cola Company has selected New York state for its preferred location for a new Fairlife production facility.
The 745,000-square-foot facility is expected to create up to 250 new jobs and be built on property on Tebor Road in the town of Webster in Monroe County. The company expects to break ground on the project sometime this fall, subject to appropriate approvals and final diligence, with the facility slated to be operational by Q4 of 2025. The total project investment has been estimated at $650 million.
“This decision by Fairlife to expand their operations in Monroe County marks the next chapter in New York’s agricultural success story,” Hochul said. “New York’s dairy industry serves as a crucial economic engine for our state, and this $650 million investment from Fairlife will create jobs and drive economic impact, particularly in the Finger Lakes. We were in tough competition with other states for what will be the largest dairy processing plant in the Northeast and this decision, which comes on the heels of investments from major companies like Micron and Li-Cycle, confirms that New York continues to offer a competitive business environment. Coming from a family of dairy farmers in Ireland, I am proud to have secured this major opportunity to position our state as one of the nation’s top dairy producers.”
Founded in 2012, Fairlife has designed a line of products that are made through an ultra-filtered milk process that removes the lactose and much of the sugar and leaves behind more of the protein and calcium. The company offers a wide range of products including Fairlife ultra-filtered milk, Core Power protein shakes, and Fairlife Nutrition Plan meal replacement shakes. The Coca-Cola Company has been a strategic partner to Fairlife since it was launched in 2012 through the company’s ultimate acquisition of it in 2020.
“Consumer demand for Fairlife products is at an all-time high, and a new production facility will allow us to significantly increase capacity and deliver Fairlife to even more households across the country," said Fairlife Chief Executive Officer Tim Doelman said. "As we continue to grow in the Northeast, Webster’s proximity and access to best-in-class dairy farmers make it an excellent location to support our next phase of growth in the region and beyond. We are sincerely grateful for the collaboration from Governor Hochul and her administration throughout this process.”
ESD is providing up to $21 million in assistance for the project through the performance-based Excelsior Jobs Tax Credit Program in exchange for the job creation commitments. Additionally, the Monroe County IDA is expected to apply to ESD for a $20 million Capital Grant so that they can work to provide adequate power and other related infrastructure costs to service the site. The NYS Department of Agriculture and Markets, the Monroe County Industrial Development Agency, the Town of Webster, Rochester Gas and Electric and Greater Rochester Enterprise were additionally instrumental in bringing the company to New York State. The company selected New York State due to the invaluable assistance of these committed stakeholders, and to its world-renowned reputation as an agribusiness global leader with an unparalleled, innovative dairy community.
The research for Fairlife branded milk process using state of the art ultrafiltration originated at Cornell University over a decade ago. Unique to Fairlife, the ultrafiltration process gives their milk a longer shelf life and creates a product with less sugar, more protein and more calcium over conventional milk for sale in the marketplace. Expected utilization is equal to an estimated 5 million pounds of locally sourced milk per day, making it the largest dairy plant in the Northeast and positions New York to regain its position as the 3rd largest producer of milk in the U.S.
Today’s announcement also delivers on the governor’s promise in her 2023 State of the State to address the need for additional agricultural processing capacity to help alleviate the gaps in the supply chain by developing an interagency team with Empire State Development and the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets that will work with new and expanding businesses to spur further investment in food manufacturing in the State.
Empire State Development President, CEO and Commissioner Hope Knight said, “We are incredibly excited to welcome Fairlife to Monroe County. The company’s plans to put down roots in this upstate community, and its potential to create up to 250 new jobs, is well suited because New York has the unmatched farm and dairy infrastructure to support this project and is a clear leader in dairy production and research and development as well.”