State commits over $2 million in incentives to Commonwealth Dairy expansion

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State commits over $2 million in incentives to Commonwealth Dairy expansion

Wed, 12/14/2016 - 1:32pm -- tim

Commonwealth Dairy, Brattleboro. VBM photo.

Vermont Business Magazine Governor Peter Shumlin and local officials joined Thomas Moffit, CEO of Ehrmann Commonwealth Dairy and Christian Ehrmann, CEO of Ehrmann AG, to announce the company’s decision to kick-off a multi-year, $20 million expansion that will establish the company headquarters in Vermont and expand production capacity for the Green Mountain Creamery and Ehrmann brands. The event capped several months of work by Ehrmann Commonwealth, the Brattleboro Development Credit Corporation, the Agency of Commerce and Community Development, and the Town of Brattleboro to ensure that the company expanded its business in Brattleboro and not elsewhere.

The project was approved for $1,000,000 from the Windham County Economic Development Program and up to another $100,000 has been committed to match Federal Highway funds to upgrade the wastewater treatment facility that serves the industrial park in which the plant is located. Last week, the Vermont Economic Progress Council gave initial approval for the company to earn up to $648,327 in Vermont Employment Growth Incentives if annual performance requirements are met. The State has also committed $200,000 from the Vermont Training Program. The Town of Brattleboro will also contribute a $250,000 program income grant and property tax stabilization to the project.    

“We have a great team working to respond to opportunities that will retain and create great jobs in Brattleboro,” said Governor Shumlin. “This project also helps to preserve our working lands and dairy production through expanded utilization of Vermont milk products.”

“Our Company was started just six years ago in Brattleboro, yet today we have two plants and a national footprint.  We’re excited to receive this support from the State and Town which enables not only another expansion to our plant, but centralizes all administrative functions right here where it all began” said Tom Moffitt. 

“We have experienced tremendous growth in the USA, and really appreciate the Governor’s leadership and the leadership at the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources, Vermont Agency of Commerce and Community Development and the Town of Brattleboro in making this project and expansion a success.” Christian Ehrmann said.

“BDCC is pleased to be helping assemble the financing and development plan for another important southern Vermont expansion,” said Adam Grinold, Executive Director of the Brattleboro Development Credit Corporation.  “Not only is Ehrmann Commonwealth Dairy an important regional employer, but they are also an important partner helping BDCC and SeVEDS further develop and implement regional workforce and business development strategies.”

Commonwealth Dairy produces and sells dairy products, primarily yogurt, under the Green Mountain Creamery and Ehrmann brands. Founded as a start-up in Vermont in 2010, the company shipped its first product in summer 2011. Over the past five and half years, they have grown into one of the leading manufacturers of store-branded Greek yogurt in the nation. Along with a plant in Arizona, they produce product for seven different retailers and are a contract manufacturer for three different brands that do not have their own production. 

In 2016, Ehrmann Commonwealth expects to sell over 75 million pounds of yogurt with the Vermont plant producing the majority of that volume. Ehrmann Commonwealth purchases over 15 million gallons of milk, sourced from nearby farms. The plant operates 3-shifts, 6 days-per week and employees 120 production workers. Vermont also serves as company headquarters, employing 30 office staff.

After evaluating several investment scenarios, including expanding their Arizona facility, adding a third manufacturing facility, or establishing a headquarters and administrative office in a separate location, the company has decided to invest in Vermont to meet expected market growth.

To expand processing capacity and capability, the company will relocate utilities, upgrade existing equipment, improve infrastructure, re-purpose the existing office space for manufacturing, and construct a new headquarters office building adjacent to the current facility. The state-of-the-art headquarters building will be designed to house administrative staff relocated from the existing production facility, consolidate functions that are currently in office space across town and accommodate future administrative growth. 

The new facility will serve as administrative headquarters, including the executive team, sales administration, marketing, project management and centralized finance, accounting, IT, and procurement.  In addition, the headquarter office will be a place where they can hold large conferences and training/development workshops, host customer visits and serve as a "showpiece" for their brands.

The Commonwealth Dairy plant opened in West Brattleboro in 2011 at a cost of $32 million. It completed a $12 million expansion in 2013 as the demand for Greek-style, non-fat yogurt accelerated.

Christian Ehrmann, Deter Dobousek and Governor Jim Douglas at the Commonwealth Dairy groundbreaking in March 2010. Commonwealth Dairy photo.

Ehrmann Commonwealth Dairy is a subsidiary of Ehrmann AG, based in Germany. It opened a $50 million, 100,000-square-foot plant in Arizona in 2013.

“We have experienced tremendous growth in the USA, and really appreciate the governor’s leadership and the leadership at the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources, Vermont Agency of Commerce and Community Development and the Town of Brattleboro in making this project and expansion a success,” added Ehrmann AG Chairman, Christian Ehrmann.

About Ehrmann Commonwealth Dairy

Ehrmann Commonwealth Dairy, LLC is a subsidiary of Ehrmann AG.  Ehrmann Commonwealth Dairy is a state-of-the art yogurt manufacturer with facilities in Brattleboro, Vermont and Casa Grande, AZ.  The Green Mountain Creamery line of Natural and Organic yogurts, as well as YoYummy kids yogurt pouches, share the same philosophy of simplicity and authenticity:  No artificial preservatives, additives or colorings – made with only the purest ingredients, including rBST free milk.

BRATTLEBORO, VT. – Wednesday, December 14, 2016 - Ehrmann Commonwealth Dairy, LLC