Soft drink giant Coca-Cola has officially opened its first factory in Qatar’s Industrial Area.
The QR132m (US$36m) plant started production in March after two years of planning.
It was formally inaugurated this week, and now bottles more than a dozen different kinds of Coke products.
This includes Coca Cola, Coke Light and Coke Zero, as well as orange, citrus and strawberry-flavored Fanta as well as Arwa and Safia water.
The plant covers an area of 28,000 square meters and will employ 300 staff in the first stage of operations, Coke said in a statement.
What an honor to drink the very first Coke produced @CocaCola's new bottling plant in #Qatar #CokeJourney pic.twitter.com/ghFyPuqJEh
— CdA Natalie A. Baker (@USAmbQatar) October 10, 2016
Among the dignitaries at this week’s opening was Dana Shell Smith, US Ambassador to Qatar.
Senior Coca-Cola representatives and officials from local partner company Al Mana Group also attended.
In a statement, Coca-Cola said the plant would produce beverages to be sold in Qatar and Bahrain. It added that the new factory was part of a plan to expand its production in Qatar and the wider region.
While sodas remain popular in Qatar, the government has been trying to encourage people to opt for healthier snacks as it battles health issues like diabetes, obesity and heart problems.
Officials recently said that they are mulling the introduction of a 5 percent “sin tax” on junk food.
This would be partly to off-set the country’s budget deficit, but also to persuade people to adopt a more active and healthy lifestyle.