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Byrne Dairy to sell Syracuse milk-bottling plant, “several” distribution centers

By Eric Reinhardt


LaFayette–based Byrne Dairy Inc. plans to sell its fluid-milk plant at 240 Oneida St. in Syracuse to Buffalo–based Upstate Niagara Cooperative, Inc. in a deal that Upstate Niagara expects to close in the next 40 days, per its Monday news release. The sale also involves “several” distribution centers throughout New York, Upstate Niagara said. (Eric Reinhardt / CNYBJ)

SYRACUSE, N.Y. — Buffalo–based Upstate Niagara Cooperative, Inc. has signed an agreement to purchase the Byrne Dairy fluid-milk operations, including the fluid-milk plant located in Syracuse, and “several” distribution centers throughout New York.

Upstate Niagara expects the deal to close “within the next [40] days,” per its Monday news release.

A cooperative of more than 310 family-owned farms, Upstate Niagara Cooperative is a food and beverage company that has been offering dairy products since 1965.

In the deal, Upstate Niagara will purchase and operate Byrne’s milk-bottling plant at 240 Oneida St. in Syracuse and Byrne’s direct store delivery operation, Byrne Dairy said in its own release.

Byrne Dairy noted that its extended shelf-life plant in DeWitt, cultured dairy plant in Cortlandville, ice cream plant in Syracuse, warehouse operations in Syracuse and DeWitt, and all of the Byrne Dairy & Deli stores “are not affected by the sale.”

Under the terms of the agreement, Byrne will grant a license to Upstate to package fresh milk, including glass bottles, under the Byrne Dairy name. Byrne will also continue to supply milk to the Oneida Street facility from its farms throughout Central New York, the LaFayette–based firm said.

The companies did not disclose the acquisition price.

Byrne currently employs about 250 people in the production and distribution of milk. Upstate Niagara expects to retain “nearly all” of Byrne’s current employees, according to Byrne.

“We’re excited that Upstate Niagara Cooperative will carry on the fresh milk portion of the business that my grandfather started in 1933,” Carl Byrne, president of Byrne Dairy, said in his company’s release. “This sale is good for our farmers, the employees, and the customers of Byrne Dairy, as well as the Syracuse community. We will continue to invest in our remaining facilities, like the $25 million expansion we just completed at our extended shelf-life plant in DeWitt.”

The dairy will be the ninth manufacturing facility for Upstate Niagara Cooperative, and its fourth fluid-milk plant, “allowing the company to be able to better serve its existing customers and to establish a stronger presence in the region,” Upstate Niagara said.

Existing employees will manage operations and the facility will continue to service all Byrne Dairy customers, the company added.

“This acquisition is a strategic investment by our member-owners toward continued and long-term growth for our cooperative and will strengthen our ability to continue to provide award-winning products and exceptional customer service while expanding our reach into adjoining markets,” Lawrence Webster, Upstate Niagara Cooperative CEO, said in the release.

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