Starbucks builds beverage plant in Ga.

July 13, 2012 at 4:54 PM

AUGUSTA, Ga., July 13 (UPI) -- Starbucks broke ground Friday in Augusta, Ga., on its first company-owned manufacturing facility to produce soluble products.

The $172 million plant will produce Starbucks VIA Ready Brew, the coffee base for Frappuccinos and many of the company's ready-to-drink beverages that are currently made overseas.

The company currently operates four coffee roasting plants in the United States.

The Wall Street Journal said the coffee giant is looking to lower distribution costs and enhance innovation.

"Even with all the international expansion we have done, America is still our largest consumer base," Peter Gibbons, head of Starbucks' global supply chain operations, was quoted as saying. "This will increase speed-to-market while reducing inventory costs and helping us ensure a more predictable supply."

The plant is expected to open in January 2014.

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