Bottlemaker Satisfies Mighty Thirst For Glass

High-tech plant churns out 600 beer bottles a minuteThe sprawling tan building that rises from the snowy plains houses technology its owners prefer to keep under wraps.

There are certain things you can’t take pictures of,” plant manager Dwayne Wendler advises a newspaper photographer, minutes before leading a tour of the 450,000-square-foot facility.

No, it’s not a hush-hush military installation.

It’s where beer bottles are born as gobs of molten glass.

Photos could reveal sensitive bottle-making technology inside the $140 million Owens-Illinois Inc. bottle plant – one that the chief executive dubbed “the most advanced and high-tech plant in the country.”

Finished in 2005, it’s the first such bottle plant in the nation in 25 years – a time when glass plants were shuttered while cans and plastic grabbed market share.

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