Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Into your glass

KALAMA, Wash.-- There's a glass factory here, just the sixth on the west coast to manufacture wine bottles, and it's back in business. Goes by the name of Bennu, located in the Port of Kalama. 

"I could stand and watch it all day," Bennu CEO Jerry Lemieux told The Daily News while looking at super-heated (2,700 degree) glass globs.

A Pennsylvania family named Cameron opened the plant in 2008 and used an unproven electric technology to melt the glass. Didn't work. They bailed. 
Bennu bought the plant at auction two years and a half years ago for $65 million, then spent another $35 million to get it working again, this time with a mixture of liquid oxygen and natural gas. Cost of the furnace alone was $13 million.

Bennu plans to produce 100 million bottles a year, more than enough for Washington and Oregon wineries.

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