Coca-Cola Lehigh Valley Syrup Plant is Growing, Adding Jobs

By Colin McEvoy on June 28, 2019

Food and beverage processing has been identified as one of the four target sectors of the Lehigh Valley.

The Coca-Cola Lehigh Valley Syrup Plant in Upper Macungie Township has added a new production line, adding 42 new full-time employees. (archive photo by Marco Calderon)

The Lehigh Valley’s prime agricultural areas, abundance of fresh water and natural resources, and proximity to major population centers on the East Coast have long made it an ideal location for food and beverage companies.

For proof of that, look no further than the Coca-Cola Lehigh Valley Syrup Plant in Upper Macungie Township, which has experienced successful growth over the past decade and is now growing once again, expanding its operations this year to add an additional production line.

The plant, located on the 7500 block of Schantz Road, started a new line in May making the sports drink Powerade, one of several Coca-Cola products produced there, according to Steven Pfeiffenberger, general manager at Lehigh Valley Syrup Plant.

As a result of the new line, the plant added 42 new full-time employees across three shifts covering production, maintenance, and warehousing. The regional operation employs 206 people between the plant and an additional warehouse in Lower Macungie Township.

“Lehigh Valley’s location is central to markets in the Northeast and mid-Atlantic states,” Pfeiffenberger said. “Lehigh Valley is also a great transportation hub, with solid and capable utility infrastructure. All of these factors have helped make our growth possible.”

In operation since 1997, the plant’s success is a prime example of the kind of success stories being featured in the Made Possible in Lehigh Valley initiative. The Coca-Cola Lehigh Valley Syrup Plant made it happen, and the economic assets of Lehigh Valley made it possible.

“With multiple nationally-known brands establishing a presence here, food and beverage production has become very identifiable with Lehigh Valley,” said Don Cunningham, President & CEO of the Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corporation (LVEDC). “Our low energy costs, skilled and dedicated workforce, and access to water and wastewater capacity are just a few of the factors responsible for this.”

This is the sixth production line established at the Coca-Cola Lehigh Valley Syrup Plant. It also has three bag-in-box syrup production lines, which produce 2.5- and 5-gallon containers of syrups for fountain customers, and one 75-gallon Coca-Cola Classic syrup line.

The new production line is the second at the plant for Powerade, and its addition will double the facility’s capacity to support the Northeast and mid-Atlantic states sales territories, Pfeiffenberger said.

The Lehigh Valley is the home of several nationally-recognized companies and brands in the beverage industry. In addition to Coca-Cola, they include Ocean Spray, Samuel Adams Brewing Company, Nestle, Pepsi Beverage Co., and the Dr Pepper/Snapple Group.

There are also several water bottlers in the region, including Ice River Springs and Niagara Bottling, as well as multiple small brewing companies, like Weyerbacher Brewing Co., Fegley’s Brew Works, and the HiJinx Brewing Company.

Food and beverage processing has been identified as one of the four target industry sectors for the Lehigh Valley based on the site-specific characteristics of the regional economy. The others are high performance manufacturing, high value business services, and life science research and manufacturing.

The Coca-Cola Lehigh Valley Syrup Plant is a separate company from  ABARTA Coca-Cola Bottle, a family-owned and locally-operated franchise that also operates in the Lehigh Valley.

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This column, written by LVEDC President and CEO Don Cunningham, originally appeared in The Morning Call and on the newspaper's website on June 26, 2019. (Click here to read Cu[...]

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