LITTLE ROCK, ARK. — Several major plant expansions are in the works at Westrock Coffee Co., LLC, including construction of the nation’s largest roasting to ready-to-drink packaging facility.
“We are expanding our finished product offerings, adding end beverage packaging solutions, and expanding our geographic reach to meet our growing customer demand,” said Scott Ford, co-founder and chief executive officer of Westrock Coffee. “Our growth benefits everyone at Westrock Coffee — from our global customers and farmer partners to our current and future employees and the communities where they live. These facility expansion announcements provide further evidence that we are well on our way to accomplishing our mission of building and efficiently operating the preeminent integrated coffee, tea, and extract supply chain in the world in order to enhance the lives of our farmer partners and fuel the success of the customers that we serve.”
Westrock said it recently finalized the acquisition of a 524,000-square-foot facility in Conway, Ark., that will provide Westrock ample space for the development, production, and distribution of its coffee, tea and RTD products. The new facility will use advanced robotics, specifically designed to efficiently manufacture and package a wide range of beverages, such as canned or bottled cold-brew coffees, lattes, assorted teas, and juice-based products as well as single-serve coffee cups, Westrock said. Additionally, the plant will incorporate quality assurance and product development labs, enabling Westrock to create, test, and produce new beverage solutions.
Westrock said it plans to add 50 new jobs following phase one of the buildout, which is expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2023, then growing to approximately 250 positions over time. Many of the jobs needed to operate the facility will require a significantly advanced and skilled workforce, commanding higher salaries, ranging up to over $100,000 per year, the company noted.
Westrock already has an established presence in Arkansas, operating corporate offices in Little Rock and a manufacturing facility in North Little Rock.
Elsewhere, Westrock said it is expanding its Commercial Park extract manufacturing facility in Concord, NC, a move that reflects “unprecedented growth due to burgeoning customer demand” for extract, tea and herbal products. The expansion will add two fully automated production lines, which will increase overall capacity of extracts processing at the facility by more than 50%. The expansion also will include modernizing its current manufacturing and packaging process for bottled products, Westrock said. Upgrades to the Concord facility should be complete by the end of 2022.
“We have seen strong product demand and customer growth over the past year, and our expansion puts us at the forefront of providing beverage solutions for any type of business in any form of finished packaging,” Mr. Ford said. “This progress is a testament to every person who plays a role in our day-to-day operations.”
A third expansion underway is taking place in Johor Bahru, Malaysia. Westrock said it has completed work on its 90,000-square-foot, two-building facility in Johor Bahru. Finished good production is set to begin in the first quarter of 2022. The new facility, which is just 30 minutes from the international hub of Singapore, will enhance Westrock’s roasting capacity to accommodate for increases in manufacturing, packaging, and warehousing, of coffee and extract solutions across APAC and MENA regions, the company said.The Malaysia plant will be Westrock’s first roasting, manufacturing, and packaging facility outside of the United States.