Coca-Cola Bottling Company to invest $330 million on new facility 

By Matt Bryant 

Governor Kay Ivey today announced that Coca-Cola Bottling Company United Inc. (UNITED) plans to invest an estimated $330 million to construct a new Birmingham Coca-Cola facility in the city’s Kingston community that is expected to create up to 50 new jobs and retain over 750 positions in the Magic City. 

“For over 120 years, Coca-Cola UNITED has been a stand-out member of Birmingham’s business community, so it’s wonderful to see this world-class company make another major investment to build a new headquarters facility in the Magic City,” said Governor Ivey. “Coca-Cola UNITED’s landmark growth project will create new jobs in its home base in Birmingham while also solidifying the company’s foundation in the city for decades to come – and that’s great news for all of Alabama!” 

In 2013, Coca-Cola UNITED purchased the land of the former Stockham Valves and Fittings site on 40th Street North, about two miles from its current location off East Lake Boulevard, in the hopes of one day building a new facility. 

Coca-Cola UNITED President and CEO Mike Suco notes these hopes have since become a highly anticipated and welcome reality. 

“Our story began more than 120 years ago in Birmingham, and with this investment, our story will continue for years to come,” said Suco. “Today’s announcement reflects our long-standing commitment to our associates, our customers and the communities we have the honor of serving. 

“It is through our strong relationships that we have arrived at this defining moment in our company’s history, and we are grateful to our local and state officials and partners for their support in our continued success,” added Suco. 

Coca-Cola UNITED Board of Directors Chairman Conrad W. Rafield III said the investment is a testament to Birmingham Coca-Cola associates and the community at large. Birmingham Coca-Cola employs approximately 800 associates and services Jefferson County and 11 other surrounding counties. 

“This project has been years in making and we are excited to build a campus that will reflect our foundational core values of Quality, Excellence, Integrity and Respect,” said Rafield “We are incredibly proud of the relationships and partnerships we’ve forged in the greater Birmingham area through the years, and we remain committed to being good stewards and neighbors in the communities where we live and work.” 

The new facility will include a 150,000-square-foot multi-floor office complex and a 300,000-square-foot warehouse featuring the leading-edge Vertique case picking system that is among the most advanced in the beverage industry. 

The new facility, which along with its famous trademark will be highly visible to traffic along Interstate 20/59, will house the Birmingham Coca-Cola sales center 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 based in the new facility. 

Ellen McNair, secretary of the Alabama Department of Commerce, said UNITED’s investment project will have a long-lasting impact on Birmingham’s economy and its image as a commercial center. 

“UNITED’s impressive new facility will become an eye-catching gateway to Birmingham and transmit the powerful signal that the Magic City is a great place to do business,” said Secretary McNair. “Launching this project, in this particular location, perfectly exemplifies how this world-class company is giving back to its community.” 

The iconic Coca-Cola brand made its way to the Magic City in 1902 when businessman and community philanthropist Crawford Johnson Sr. opened Birmingham Coca-Cola with a staff consisting of one associate and a mule named Bird. Johnson and his family went on to open and acquire several bottling franchises throughout the Southeast, and in 1974, the company was incorporated as Coca-Cola UNITED. The company has operated out of its current facility at 4600 East Lake Blvd. since 1979. 

Several local officials celebrated the news following today’s announcement. 

“Coca-Cola Bottling Company United is the definition of a legacy business in Birmingham. Having been in our community and a part of its growth for more than 100 years gives me great pleasure to see the city play a significant role for future generations. This investment is great for Birmingham, our region and our state,” said Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin. 

“This project, from one of the most recognizable brands in the world, marks a transformative milestone for our community. I’m excited for this development and how it will breathe new life into an abandoned site that has been a point of contention for our residents,” said Birmingham City Councilor and Community Development Committee Chair JT Moore, whose district will include the new construction. “I know that this will be a major economic generator for the city; not only that but it’s located right in the heart of District 4 and a community that will greatly benefit from the new opportunities, community engagement and potential job creation.” 

“On behalf of the Kingston Neighborhood Association, I’m thrilled to welcome Coca-Cola UNITED to our community,” said Neighborhood Association President Brenda Holifield. “Their arrival not only brings new opportunities but also strengthens the fabric of our neighborhood, encouraging growth and camaraderie among residents and businesses alike.” 

“Coca-Cola Bottling Company United Inc.’s (UNITED) commitment to providing livable wage jobs, economic and community development opportunities in Jefferson County, the city of Birmingham and the region has been nothing short of amazing,” added Jefferson County Commissioner Lashunda Scales, whose district houses the company. ”When you think of a holistic community partner, I immediately think of Coca-Cola Bottling Company United Inc.” 

“Jefferson County is pleased to be a contributing partner to this move and expansion,” said Jefferson County Commission President Jimmie Stephens. “We are proud of the accomplishments and truly appreciate the confidence that Coke United has in our great city and county. This investment was brought to fruition by working through our governmental partners and the great leadership at Coke United. Together, we make great things happen.