Virginia’s Coca-Cola Bottling Co. sold

May 4, 2016

Virginia’s Coca-Cola Bottling Co. sold

VIRGINIA — Viking Coca-Cola is the new owner of the Coca-Cola Bottling Co. of Virginia and its distribution area following a transaction involving family businesses dedicated to the communities they serve.

The St. Cloud-based company as of Tuesday has expanded its territory into northern Minnesota, including the cities of and around Virginia, Eveleth, Chisholm, Hibbing, Biwabik, Tower and Ely.

In this territory, the Coca-Cola Co. and Dr. Pepper Snapple Group grants exclusive rights to Viking Coca-Cola for the manufacturing, sale and distribution of bottler-delivered beverages.

“Viking Coca-Cola is delighted to be expanding its service area in northern Minnesota and welcoming the team based out of Virginia to the Viking Coca-Cola family. The current ownership and team at Coca-Cola of Virginia are highly regarded by us and the Coca-Cola system,” said Michael Faber, CEO of Viking Coca-Cola Bottling.

The Virginia company’s workforce is currently about 25 employees.

“Our intent is to stay the same. We have offered every team member employment,” Faber said.

The Bonner family has been involved with Coca-Cola on the Iron Range for more than 80 years, Faber said.

Viking Coca-Cola is a privately held company, owned and operated by the Faber family in St. Cloud. Michael Faber’s father, Joseph, was a truck driver, in sales and then management for the company before taking over full ownership in 1994.

The parties are committed to working together to implement a smooth transition with minimal disruption for customers, consumers and system associates, the CEO said.

Financial terms were not disclosed.

Founded in 1952, Viking Coca-Cola operates 11 facilities throughout Minnesota and Wisconsin in similar size markets as Coca-Cola of Virginia. Viking is looking to expand even more into northern Minnesota, northern Wisconsin and a portion of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. 

The family has a variety of other businesses, but at its core is the beverage industry.

“Our specialty is local communities similar in size to Virginia ... in the 5,000 to 20,000 population area,” said Faber, with the exception of St. Cloud.

Faber praised the Virginia company’s employees.

“The local Virginia team has a remarkable 385 years of experience. That’s absolutely phenomenal. It speaks to the passion and belief behind the Coca-Cola brand. It’s such a wonderful group of people,” Faber said.

The Viking Coca-Cola CEO said he will carry on the company’s love of Virginia and surrounding communities.

“They sold to us because they knew it was another family business committed to the community,” Faber said.