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The current method for canning our favorite beverages — from soda and energy drinks to beer and hard seltzer — isn’t all that efficient or environmentally friendly.
Aluminum containers are manufactured in one location, shipped to another to be filled and then trucked, yet again, for storage or distribution.
But a Utah-based company hopes to change that, when it opens a massive facility later this year that brings the entire can making-filling-shipping process under one roof.
Vobev announced recently that it currently is constructing two large buildings — totalling 1.3-million-square-feet - in Salt Lake City.
Strategically located at at 150 S. 5454 West— just off Interstate 80 near the International Airport and proposed Inland Port — the Vobev facility is expected to decrease production times and has the potential to shrink the industry’s carbon footprint, said general manager Eric Cudnohoske.
“It’s a brand new concept for the beverage, canning and filling industry,” he said. “We will make aluminum cans. We will fill aluminum cans. And then we’ll pack and ship the aluminum cans.”
Cudnohoske called the idea an “industry disruptor” and said this level of vertical integration isn’t happening anywhere else in North America.
“Having everything under one roof, we have the ability of removing a lot of semis off of our roads,” he said. “And that’s a big deal.”
The business will focus on small to mid-sized beverage companies which often have the most difficult time getting their products canned and into the market, he said.
Construction on the Vobev facility is expected to be complete at the end of 2021. But the company already has started advertising for machine operators — jobs that pay $21 per hour plus benefits — on employment sites, such as Glassdoor.
Over the next 18 months, Vobev is expected to hire 400 new employees and offer them on-the-job training for its manufacturing equipment.
While it will launch with traditional 16-ounce can capacity, Cudnohoske said in the future the company should be able to customize cans for the companies it contracts with — including many Utah soda makers, breweries and distilleries.
“We hope this makes Salt Lake City and Utah a beverage hub,” he said. “There’s a lot of folks out there that are putting stuff in cans — be it energy drinks or water or beer or whatever — and we’re going to have the ability to help them design what they’re looking for.”