The Coca-Cola Co. has picked the town of Webster to build a $650 million fairlife milk production facility. The move is expected to create up to 250 jobs.
The 745,000-square-foot facility will be built on property on Tebor Road and is expected to break ground in the fall, state officials say. The production facility is scheduled to be operational by the end of 2025.
“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,” says Tim Doelman, fairlife CEO. 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.”
The company’s products are made through an ultrafiltered milk process that removes the lactose and much of the sugar and leaves behind more of the protein and calcium. Coca-Cola, a strategic partner in the venture since it was launched, acquired fairlife in 2020.
“This decision by fairlife to expand their operations in Monroe County marks the next chapter in New York’s agricultural success story,” Gov. Kathy Hochul says. “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.”
The company will receive up to $21 million in assistance for the project through the performance-based Excelsior Jobs Tax Credit Program in exchange for job-creation commitments. The Monroe County Industrial Development Agency is expected to apply to Empire State Development for a $20 million capital grant so that it can work to provide adequate power and other related infrastructure costs to service the site, officials say.
“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,” says Tom Flaherty, Webster town supervisor.
The state Department of Agriculture and Markets, the Monroe County IDA, the town of Webster, Rochester Gas and Electric and Greater Rochester Enterprise also helped in bringing the company to New York.
Research for fairlife’s branded milk process originated at Cornell University more than a decade ago. The company is expected to use an estimated 5 million pounds of locally sourced milk per day, making it the largest dairy plant in the Northeast.
The development positions New York to regain its position as the third-largest milk producer in the nation, officials say. The state is home to nearly 3,500 dairy farms.
“Monroe County has a rich heritage of championing dairy and agriculture, and we eagerly anticipate collaborating with fairlife to carry on this tradition,” County Executive Adam Bello says. “Their $650 million investment will not only create new jobs and a new market for our region’s quality milk supply, but also boost our local economy and reinforce our reputation as a hub of opportunity.”
Smriti Jacob is Rochester Beacon managing editor.The Beacon welcomes comments and letters from readers who adhere to our comment policy including use of their full, real name. Submissions to the Letters page should be sent to [email protected].