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Global beverage business helps Naples plant thrive

The grape harvest in South America, which takes place when it’s springtime in the Finger Lakes due to its location south of the equator, is good news for a thriving business at Hazlitt’s Red Cat Cellars.

The winery in the village of Naples, where Hazlitt produces its signature Red Cat wine, is also home to sister enterprise East Coast Crush & Co-Pack. The beverage process and packaging plant, aka EC3, is a growing go-to for customers in South America, New Zealand and beyond. By shipping their wine or juice to the plant in Naples, EC3 customers can save on transportation and other costs, while taking advantage of the state-of-the art equipment and technology used at the facility. EC3 offers custom crush and production of wine, cider and juice; bulk production; as well as bottling, storage and warehousing.

“Demand is growing,” said Steve Cromwell, Hazlitt’s production and supply chain manager. Calls come in every week looking for EC3 services, he said. Some businesses are start-ups and others are long-established. They may not have the space or ability to produce, package or store their own product, he said. They may want to save on transportation.

For example, a California winery can save money by shipping its wine in bulk to Naples, where its bottled and then distributed for sale along the East Coast. “It’s about half the freight cost to send it in bulk liquid here,” Cromwell said.

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