Largest Ready-to-Drink Coffee Facility Opens in Arkansas

(Left to right) Will Ford, president of operations at Westrock Coffee; Joe T. Ford, co-founder & chairman of Westrock Coffee; Arkansas Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders; and Scott Ford, co-founder & CEO of Westrock Coffee at the grand opening of the company’s ready-to-drink facility in Conway, Ark. Image courtesy of Westrock Coffee

Westrock Coffee Co. has opened the largest roast-to-ready-to-drink manufacturing facility in North America, a 570,000-square-foot factory in Conway, Ark.

The company poured in $315 million in investments, including a comprehensive beverage development laboratory, with the goal of putting it at the forefront of coffee and ready-to-drink beverage innovation and production.

The facility features robotics and end-to-end automation, using those techniques from roasting, grinding and extraction to bottling and packaging.

Westrock Coffee is a leading integrated coffee, tea, flavors, extracts, and ingredients solutions provider. Its services include coffee sourcing, supply chain management, product development, roasting, packaging, and distribution services to retail, food service and restaurant, convenience store and travel centers, non-commercial accounts, CPG, and hospitality industries around the world.

The story of a RTD facility

In December 2021, Westrock Coffee acquired an existing 524,000-square-foot factory in Conway and redeveloped it into the current facility during a two-phase process. Initial investment costs totaled $185 million. Later on, another $90 million went toward the expansion of the factory’s production capacity.

Early last year, the company also started construction on a 530,000-square-foot warehousing and distribution center, located 2 miles from the RTD facility. The industrial building came online in January on some 30 acres and features 36-foot clear heights and 72 dock doors.

The Little Rock, Ark., metro saw a small uptick in industrial vacancies in the first quarter of this year, according to a Colliers report. The index jumped to 4.4 percent, up 90 basis points from the value recorded at the end of 2023. Rental rates continued to remain steady, but they could grow due to the lack of new speculative construction.

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