Coca-Cola is to create 25 new jobs at its Ballina plant, which will become the first production site outside the US for the drinks company’s Freestyle technology.
The Coca-Cola Freestyle patented technology is a touch-screen soda fountain that features 165 different beverage choices. The connected machine operates with cartridges, and the technology within the machine identifies when each brand is low and needs to be replaced.
25 new jobs will be created in Ballina over the next three years as part of this investment. Across Ireland – north and south – Coca-Cola employs 1,700 people.
‘The Coca-Cola Company has a long history of investment and employment in Ireland, having first located operations in Northern Ireland in 1934’
– MUHTAR KENT, CEO, COCA-COLA
More than 40,000 Coca-Cola Freestyle machines can already be found across the US and, in recent years, the concept has undergone extensive market testing with customers in parts of Europe.
The €26m investment will enable Coca-Cola to expand the Freestyle model into 10 countries in Europe.
“The Coca-Cola Company has a long history of investment and employment in Ireland, having first located operations in Northern Ireland in 1934,” said Muhtar Kent, chairman and CEO of The Coca-Cola Company.
“The Coca-Cola system now employs 1,750 people across six locations in Ireland and Northern Ireland. Today’s investment further underpins our commitment, with Ballina now involved in the production of our innovative Freestyle technology, facilitating its expansion into other key European markets and offering more choice to our consumers.”
The machines were designed in partnership with Italian firm Pininfarina Extra, which also does design work for Ferrari.
The dispenser features more than 165 different beverage choices from across the company’s full product range, including a choice of lower-calorie and no-calorie options, as well as sports drinks and fruit-flavoured drinks.
“It’s excellent news that Coca-Cola is investing €26m in its Ballina plant to allow the production of its Freestyle technology here,” said Martin Shanahan, CEO of IDA Ireland.
“It demonstrates real commitment by the company to its Mayo operations, and is a strong endorsement of Ballina and the region as a suitable location for this type of manufacturing. Coca-Cola is already a strong employer across its six locations in Ireland and Northern Ireland and the 25 new jobs being created in Ballina will be a further boost to the region.”
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Coca-Cola image via Shutterstock