Expansion Makes Rapids Ocean Spray Largest Cranberry Processer in World

By  | 

Wisconsin Rapids has a new claim to fame.

The Central Wisconsin city is now home to the largest cranberry processing facility in the world.

One of the reasons Ocean Spray expanded was the high demand for sweetened, dried cranberries, also known as craisins.

The 125,000 sq. ft, $75 million expansion adds two state-of-the-art sweetened, dried cranberry production lines to the Wisconsin Rapids Ocean Spray food plant.

The plant will now have the capacity to create 30 million pounds of craisins.

With the expansion also comes new jobs.

Officials say 100 additional employees will be added to the Ocean Spray family.

Governor Jim Doyle made an appearance at the plant...saying Ocean Spray is exactly the kind of company he's excited about having in the Badger State.

The Vice President of Operations says the expansion also added to the plant's energy efficiency.

"We believe that it's very important that we preserve the resources as best as possible, so when we built this plant, the original plant, th econcentrating plant, we knew about methane gas," said Michael Stamatakos.

He says they worked with a local landfill to use methane as a source of energy for the plant's boilers.

Stamatakos says it's not only good for the corporation's bottom line, it's good for the environment.

CEO and President Randy Papdellis told an audience of about 200 people that he hopes the cranberry industry will continue to grow....and says Ocean Spray is working with state officials to make it easier for growers to produce the state fruit right here at home.