Maker of alternative proteins taps Richmond for $115M fermentation plant

Liberation Labs, a precision fermentation manufacturer, is planning to invest $115 million to develop a biomanufacturing facility in Richmond, creating 45 jobs.

The New York City-based company says the Richmond plant—its first—is part of an effort to commercialize alternative protein products through precision fermentation manufacturing. It hopes to build a network of facilities to accommodate 80% or more of the alternative protein market, making products for “existing major food brands as well as the growing network of food-tech innovators.”

The company closed on a $20 million seed round of funding in December, which it said would be used to develop the plant.

The facility will be built on a 36-acre lot in Richmond’s 700-acre Midwest Industrial Park. Co-founder and CEO Mark Warner said Richmond was an attractive location for the company’s first fermentation facility.

“The three things a biomanufacturing facility like ours needs are sugar, power and people, and Richmond, Indiana, has them all,” Warner said in a media release. “While sugar and power are commodities, a workforce experienced in manufacturing is not, which is why Richmond really stands out.”

The company is slated to break ground this spring and expects to reach full commercial production by the end of 2024.

The Indiana Economic Development Corp. has pledged up to $830,000 in conditional tax credits and training grants for the project. The company will not be eligible to claim the credits until Hoosier workers are hired for the new jobs.

The IEDC said the new jobs will come with average wages “well above” the state average.

Wayne County is also set to consider additional incentives.

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