Beverage business investing $30 million in Colleton
A dairy producer plans to shell out tens of millions of dollars to open a production facility that will employ 60 workers in Walterboro over the next five years, officials said Friday.
Crescent Dairy & Beverages hopes to start operating its beverage-processing plant around mid-2013 in the Colleton County Commerce Center, near exit 62 on U.S. Interstate 95, officials said.
The company is spending roughly $30 million dollars on a 100,000-square-foot building and 25 acres in the business park, officials said.
The large swath of land allows for expansion at a later date, said Heyward Horton, the county’s economic development director.
The Crescent Dairy investment is a bright spot for Colleton, which has lost a series of employers and jobs in recent years amid the faltering economy.
The county’s unemployment rate was 11.5 percent in August, higher than the state’s 9.6 percent rate for that month, according to the S.C. Department of Employment and Workforce.
“The county has lost a number of industries over the last few years and I see this as a validation that the new technical manufacturers can find a good home here,” Horton said Friday.
The dairy facility will house processing equipment that extends the shelf lives of sealed, unrefrigerated beverages, in many cases for more than 12 months, company representative Gabriel Pascual said in a written statement Friday.
Early production is expected to be aimed mainly at export markets. Hiring is expected to start early next year for food processing-related jobs, Horton said.
Pascual said the Colleton operation will give the company a foothold in a key region.
“The new location is ideal for serving not only eastern U.S. markets, but export markets as well, as the Port of Charleston provides ideal conditions to allow fast and constant flow of cargo to the region,” Pascual said in the statement. He was not available for further comment Friday.