The Lehigh Valley is now officially home to a new Ocean Spray facility.
Officials held a ribbon cutting ceremony Tuesday at the new beverage facility in Upper Macungie Township, Lehigh County. The 300,000-square-foot plant has been years in the making. Ocean Spray broke ground two years ago.
"Ocean Spray, welcome to Pennsylvania and thank you for your investment in our state," C. Alan Walker, the secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development, said during the ceremony.
This is Ocean Spray's first facility in Pennsylvania.
"We're an agricultural cooperative, and we're not your typical corporation. We are 100 percent owned by the growers who supply us with the cranberries and the grapefruit that we process here," said Randy Papadellis, Ocean Spray's president and CEO. "Ocean Spray's essentially run as a family business, committed to bringing a neighborly culture to every community that we enter."
The plant will produce a variety a juices. Officials touted that the facility will recycle all waste and rely only on hot water, not steam, for energy, which will save energy.
"This is a very modern, world class facility, which affords a lot of things that, quite frankly, we just couldn't do down in the Bordentown plant, which is really starting to show its age," said Tim Haggerty, the plant's director.
The plant will employ 180 people, some of whom are relocating from the Ocean Spray facility that will close in Bordentown, New Jersey.
"Pennsylvania is on a little bit of a roll for economic development and growth. We're doing extremely well, and the Lehigh Valley is certainly a bright spot in Pennsylvania for economic growth and diversifying their economy," Walker told 69 News.
The facility is on 44 acres in Upper Macungie Township. It will eventually bottle about 30 million cases of drinks each year and handle about 40 percent of Ocean Spray's beverage volume in North America.