Westrock Coffee Co. (Nasdaq: WEST) on Wednesday officially began renovating a 524,000-SF facility in Conway that it says will be the world’s largest ready-to-drink packaging plant when completed.
Nabholz Construction Corp. of Conway is the lead contractor on the project, which will bring new life to a former Kimberly-Clark plant at 480 Exchange Avenue.
Westrock has said it’s making a $100 million-plus investment in the project, with the first phase of renovations planned for completion in the first quarter of 2023. About 50 jobs will be created. Over time, the number of new positions is expected to grow to 250.
The facility will provide space for the development, production, and distribution of Westrock’s coffee, tea, and ready-to-drink products, including ready-to-drink cans, glass bottles, multi-serve plastic bottles, and bag-in-box solutions.
Westrock announced last week that it had hired Cedric Smith to run the facility. Smith, whose title is vice president and plant manager, joins Westrock from Dairy Farmers of America, where he was the assistant plant manager for one of the company’s top volume producing ready-to-drink facilities in Springfield, Missouri.
The new plant will include a product development lab, enabling the company to create, test, and produce new beverages.
Westrock is scheduled to report third-quarter earnings on Nov. 14.