Diageo has announced an $80 million investment into the expansion of its ready-to-drink (RTD) operations at its new Plainfield, Illinois site.

The project includes the installation of two high-speed can lines, with the capacity to produce over 25 million cases of RTDs per year. These include Smirnoff seltzers and Diageo’s newly-launched spirits-based RTD cocktails under its Crown Royal and Ketel One Botanicals brands.

By expanding its manufacturing footprint, Diageo North America aims to support its growth strategy in the RTD category.

“As the ready-to-drink category continues to grow rapidly in the US, this expansion is very exciting as it will support our plans to meet increased consumer demand in line with emerging trends for convenient formats that are ideal for casual and at-home occasions,” said Debra Crew, president of Diageo North America.

“The new operation will supplement our existing ready-to-drink production across North America and strengthen our path to continue building our RTD offering,” she added.

The new facility will include a 500 cans per minute (CPM) line and a 1200 CPM line. Both lines are expected to be operational for commercial production by summer 2021.

Once open, the 225,000 square-foot site will employ approximately 50 full-time employees.

“The strategic location of the new site, near our warehouse and Plainfield bottling operation, will allow Diageo to create synergies and the flexibility to expand and carry other market-leading brands in the future,” said Perry Jones, president of North America supply for Diageo.

Diageo currently holds a 55-year-old partnership with the Village of Plainfield. The company’s Plainfield bottling site opened in 1996, and collectively with its warehouse employs more than 600 people.