reprinted with permission from The News Enterprise http://www.thenewsenterprise.com/content/plants-work-can-be-found-shelves-globally
By Robert Villanueva
Thursday, June 23, 2016 at 8:00 pm (Updated: June 23, 8:00 pm)
Decorations and labels found on products ranging from Skinnygirl Vodka to Lifefactory water bottles are created in Elizabethtown before being distributed to the global marketplace.
Quest Industries in Elizabethtown decorates bottles such as the Wild Turkey American Honey bottles pictured. The empty bottle on the left is what it looks like after decorated at the plant while the one on the right is an example of one after it leaves the plant and is filled by the client.
The Elizabethtown plant of Quest Industries began operations in 2014. The company also has a facility in Stockton, California, which is near wine country to best serve their customers on the West Coast, and one in Millburn, New Jersey, which is its of corporate headquarters.
The Quest facility in Elizabethtown provides bottle decorating that includes screen printing and spray coating, among other services.
Clients often have high-volume orders, but smaller orders, such as limited edition container decorating, can be filled as well, said Jim Rachlin, plant manager.
Wine and spirit bottles are a considerable portion of the work done at the plant, but other products, including high-end water bottles, also are decorated at Quest.
“A lot of our customers are local,” said Brian Emerick, production manager. “That’s the reason we came to this area.”
Among those are clients such as Buffalo Trace, Maker’s Mark, Wild Turkey and Jim Beam.
One of the specialty products handled at the Elizabethtown Quest plant is from Lifefactory. The company’s water bottles are decorated by screen printing in the Hardin County facility, Rachlin said.
Any of the numerous bottles decorated at the plant can receive anything from a frosted coating to graphics.
One section of the building serves as a warehouse, which is filled with bottles ready to be decorated.
“Everything we have is empty,” Rachlin noted about the wine and spirits bottles.
About 50 employees, regular and temporary, normally work in the plant, he said. Typically, Rachlin said, the plant operates 10-hour shifts, five days a week.
“Right now we’re in a spike,” he said.
Production includes work on some Saturdays, but no work done on Sundays, Rachlin said.
Emerick indicated the spike is becoming the norm.
“It used to be seasonal,” Emerick said. “Now it seems it’s year round.”
Rachlin said time between first contact with a client and completion of a project “can vary dramatically.”
Typically, the time from when a client contacts Quest to when the project is complete is four to six weeks. That does not include time required for a client to ship the bottles to the plant.
The process, Rachlin said, begins with the client.
“When you’re working with a customer, you first have to define graphics,” he said.
Some customers already know precisely what they want, while others work with Quest creators. In the latter case, ideas are pitched back and forth and developed to suit the customer.
Sample bottles are produced to show the client what the finished product will look like.
When someone in Shanghai or London sits down to enjoy a fine Kentucky bourbon, Rachlin said there is a good chance the bottle came through Quest’s Elizabethtown facility.
Sarah Young, new product development and operations associate, said Quest is new to many area residents.
“When I tell people I work here they say, ‘What is that?’” she said.
On the other hand, Young described Quest as a “new and up-and-coming business for Elizabethtown that can bring in more jobs for the community.”
The company enjoys its place here, Rachlin said.
“The people and the community make this a great place to do business,” he said.
Robert Villanueva can be reached at 270-505-1743 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
COMPANY AT A GLANCE
- Name: Quest Industries
- Address: 900 West Park Road, Elizabethtown
- Product: A leading innovative design company for branding and decoration of premium glass packaging.
- Plant space: Approximately 90,000 square feet
- Employees: About 50 regular and temporary