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RC bottling changing name, focus, and workforce

Updated: Jun. 19, 2020 at 5:47 PM CDT
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EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WFIE) - Officials with Evansville-based Royal Crown Bottling Corp say the evolving marketplace has led them to make significant changes, including a new name, business model, operational footprint, and size of workforce.

The company will be renamed Vision Beverage. It is moving away from its existing Royal Crown Bottling Corp. name because the company will no longer produce or distribute RC Cola and other brands owned by Keurig Dr Pepper (KDP).

Royal Crown Bottling Corp. recently reached an agreement with KDP to sell back its production and distribution rights for KDP brands, including RC Cola, A&W Root Beer, Snapple, Sunkist, and Big Red.

The transaction is expected to close late in the third quarter.

Company officials say shifting consumer habits are creating big changes within the beverage industry.

The new company will now shift its focus toward independent production and the expanding contract packaging market, producing beverages for brands that do not have in-house production and packaging capabilities.

Vision Beverage plans to continue distribution of Red Bull and Fiji bottled water.

The company will also continue to produce and distribute the popular soft drink Ski in the Evansville market.

“We’re confident these decisions are in the best interest for the long-term health of our company and the communities we serve,” said RC Bottling President Nancy Hodge. “In our 60-plus years with RC, we have grown to have one of the strongest market share territories in the KDP franchise system. We are a family-owned company in an evolving world of major players with sales in the billions, so there are incredible challenges every day to remain viable.”

Under the name Royal Crown Bottling, the company has distributed beverages in a five-state, 90 county territory in Indiana, Illinois, Kentucky, Missouri, and Tennessee with seven regional distribution centers located in Evansville and Vincennes, Indiana, Beaver Dam, Bowling Green, and Mayfield, Kentucky as well as Scott City, Missouri and Marion, Illinois.

Renamed as Vision Beverage, the company will distribute products out of its Evansville manufacturing building with plans to have warehouses in Beaver Dam, KY and Paducah, KY to support the distribution of Red Bull.

“These changes present an opportunity for us to become focused on independent production, enabling our company to expand its capabilities to meet the consumers’ growing and diverse beverage needs,” Hodge said. “We see huge opportunities for growth as an independent producer and co-packer.”

The company says employees will face changes as well. They say Operations will be streamlined, and the company intends to adjust its workforce to support these operations.

We reached out to find out more details about the workforce changes, and we were sent the following information.

“RC Bottling has had up to 220 full time employees in the past few years. The company is still working to determine what size staff it will need as the changes are implemented, so no final decisions have been made yet on an exact number of jobs that will be affected. In addition to employees that are retained, many other workers will have an opportunity to go to work for KDP in their sales and operations depts.”

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