Century-Old Coca-Cola Distributor Gulps New Territory

A Birmingham, Alabama-based Coca-Cola bottler and distributor has acquired nine more sales and distribution territories across the Southeast, the company said Monday.

John Harris / Associated Press

A Birmingham, Alabama-based Coca-Cola bottler and distributor said Monday it has acquired the Columbus operation and nine more sales and distribution territories across the Southeast.

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The Coca-Cola Bottling Company United transactions were closed with Coca-Cola Bottling Co. Consolidated and Atlanta-based The Coca-Cola Company.

The move adds more than 920 employees to the purchasing company, with it hiring 100 more to support the expansion spree. Coca-Cola United said it also plans to pump more than $9 million into facility infrastructure and its fleet.

“Coca-Cola United has a 115-year history of empowering our associates, serving our customers, refreshing our consumers and investing in our communities,” Bo Taylor, vice president of the central region for Coca-Cola Bottling Company United, said in a statement. “Today, as we bring Columbus into the United family, we continue that tradition and look forward to growing our presence in this community.”

“Coca-Cola has a long-standing presence in Columbus, and our team is now ready to take it to the next level,” said Jim Winkler, sales center manager in Columbus, in a statement:

Other than Columbus, the other locations that were part of the deal are in the Alabama cities of Florence, Mobile, Robertsdale and Leroy; the Georgia communities of Bainbridge and Sylvester; Laurel and Ocean Springs in Mississippi; and Panama City, Florida.

“These new territories make for a more contiguous franchise footprint for our company and will enable us to more effectively serve our customers and consumers throughout the seven Southeastern states where we operate,” John Sherman, president and chief executive officer of Coca-Cola United, said in a statement.

Founded in 1902, Coca-Cola United said it is the largest privately owned Coca-Cola bottler in North America and the third largest in the U.S., employing about 10,000 people in 54 sales and distribution centers and nine production facilities in seven states. It has more than 150,000 retail and on-premise customers in the Southeast.