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Birmingham has more food & beverage.

Birmingham has a rich culinary tradition embedded in its DNA. The region boasts innovative, award-winning restaurants and chefs, as well as rapidly expanding food and beverage manufacturers and distributors.

This dynamic landscape has attracted new players like Smucker’s, investing over $1 billion in a manufacturing facility, and nurtured local success stories such as Milo’s Tea, Red Diamond, and Royal Cup. Home to seven James Beard Award winners and the prestigious base for Southern Living and Food and Wine publications, Birmingham’s culinary scene serves as a hub of chef excellence in the South.

James Beard Award Winners
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James Beard Award Winners
Food and Beverage Employees in the Greater Birmingham Region

Food & Beverage Employers

Workforce Development

In a three-year period, there has been 12,000+ graduates from 2- and 4-year programs with a degree related to food and beverage manufacturing in the state of Alabama.

Buffalo Rock: Birmingham’s strong culture of public-private partnerships is exemplified by a recent collaboration involving Buffalo Rock, a local Pepsi bottling company and Lawson State Community College, a local HBCU looking to establish a workforce development pipeline for its students. This partnership led to the creation of a company-specific training program funded by a $75,000 grant from the E Pluribus Unum Fund, a national organization focused on promoting racial equity. Remarkably, within a year of the program’s announcement, the first class successfully graduated, with all students securing job offers from Buffalo Rock.

Auburn University: Newly opened in 2022, The Tony and Libba Rane Culinary Arts Center is a 142,000-square-foot, six-story facility at Auburn University’s School of Hospitality Management. The $110 million facility is the only one of its kind, offering hands-on training and classroom instruction in all areas of the hospitality management industry.

Culinary Experts: Birmingham’s food and beverage industry thrives, thanks in part to the contributions of graduates from Alabama’s top universities: the University of Alabama, Auburn University and the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB). These institutions collectively produce nearly 700 students each year, specializing in food, nutrition and agriculture programs. This year, the Academy of Horticulture at Jackson-Olin High School in the City of Birmingham is now offering high school students comprehensive programs in agricultural science.

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