WEBSTER, N.Y. (WROC) — A new production facility is projected to come to Webster: a 745,000 sq. ft. “fairlife” facility is coming to Webster on Tebor Road. New York State made the announcement in a press release Tuesday.
fairlife is a dairy producer, and a subsidiary of Coca-Cola. The drink giant bought the company in 2020.
The facility is expected to bring 250 jobs to Webster and Monroe County and represents a $650 million investment in total. It is expected to be open by late 2025, and fairlife says their “expected utilization is equal to an estimated 5 million pounds of locally sourced milk per day.”
At this output, the state says it would be the largest milk producer in the Northeast. A spokesperson with fairlife said it will be a “production facility and will include production, packaging and shipping.”
Construction is due to start this fall.
fairlife says they have product that use “an ultra-filtered milk process that removes the lactose and much of the sugar and leaves behind more of the protein and calcium.”
“The dairy used at the Webster production facility will be locally sourced. The direct access to high-quality dairy products from the surrounding Rochester and Niagara areas was a key reason why The Coca-Cola Company decided to move forward with the Webster location,” said a spokesperson with fairlife in an email interview.
“We have a high concentration of production in the region, which is one of the reasons they’re here, is access to water,” said Matt Hurlbutt, with Greater Rochester Enterprise. He was directly involved in negotiations in the fairlife deal. “We have 1.2 million of gallons of water needed for that site, the ability to get permitted and move quickly are crucial to winning a deal like this.”
The state says this is part of their “Finger Lake Forward” initiative, which is designed to help “revitalize” communities across the state.
Empire State Development will be providing $21 million in assistance for the project and the state says Monroe County is chipping in $20 million.
“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,” said Webster Town Supervisor Tom Flaherty in a statement. “The construction of the 745,000sf state-of-the-art facility will create high-paying jobs and provide economic opportunity for hundreds of families in and around our community.
“This is the biggest economic opportunity for Webster since Xerox came to town 60+ years ago,” Flaherty added in a separate statement. He also said that this announcement represents nine to 12 months of work. “Having a Dairy product produced right here in Webster is fitting based on the agricultural roots the town was built on. It is a great marriage of the town’s past and a 21st-century business and job creation.”
“This investment will not only bring significant economic growth to the region, but also create new job opportunities for our residents,” added Bob Duffy of the Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce in a statement.
“It will be a great employment center out there,” Duffy added in a Zoom interview.
“… The construction and processing jobs that will be created highlight how agriculture contributes to the greater state economy,” said New York Farm Bureau President and dairy farmer David Fisher in a statement.
“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,” said Monroe County executive Adam Bello in statement. “I’m grateful for the tremendous support for this project from Empire State Development and Gov. Kathy Hochul.
“The Greater Rochester, NY region provides fairlife with a rich ecosystem capable of building a competitive advantage focused on product innovation and business growth,” added Greater Rochester Enterprise CEO Matt Hurlbutt. “By locating in the Greater Rochester, NY region, fairlife gains an ideal site with access to both abundant, quality milk supply as well as highly-skilled engineering talent needed for high-volume advanced manufacturing. Throughout its site selection process, GRE led regional collaboration across business, community, and academia to help fairlife meet essential infrastructure and workforce requirements. GRE looks forward to supporting fairlife and its leadership to establish its first northeast U.S. facility and contribute to the Greater Rochester, NY region’s thriving food and beverage manufacturing sector.”
Check back with News 8 as we continue to update this developing story.