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Thursday, April 10, 2014, 11:22 am

Truett-Hurst picks California paper wine bottle supplier

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    EcoLogic eco.bottle line includes a 750-milliliter wine bottle.

    Ecologic’s eco.bottle line includes a 750-milliliter wine bottle similar to what Truett-Hurst’s PaperBoy brand launched in late last year.

    HEALDSBURG — Truett-Hurst, Inc. (Nasdaq: THST) on Thursday said it signed a deal with an Oakland-based maker of paper bottles to take over supplying the shelf-bound vessels for the PaperBoy wine brand after the previous United Kingdom-based supplier of the unique wine container recently encountered financial problems.

    TRUETT-HURST, INC. PAPERBOY brand

    The launch of the PaperBoy wine in a paperboard shell around a plastic bladder in late 2013 was key to a surge in Truett-Hurst sales for the quarter.

    Truett-Hurst completed a three-year general supply agreement with Ecologic Brands, Inc., for PaperBoy, which was launched in November in a traditional wine bottle-shaped recycled paperboard shell around a recyclable food-safe plastic bladder.

    Ecologic Brands (ecologicbrands.com) has been recognized for making America’s first recycled paper bottles, according to the announcement. The company’s “eco.bottle” line, with a similar bag-in-shell design, includes a Bordeaux wine bottle-shaped 750-milliliter container as well as screw-top jars, detergent bottles and spray dispensers.

    The paper bottles are 85 percent lighter than the glass bottles PaperBoy would be put into, according to Truett-Hurst.

    The deal with Truett-Hurst includes a two-year extension. Ecologic has been ramping up its 60,000-square-foot production plant in Manteca in the past year.

    Truett-Hurst said the closer proximity of that plant will help the company manage production better and have more efficient transportation. Strong sales for PaperBoy have been key to Truett-Hurst’s reported growth, and the company recently alerted investors to the hiccup in the paper bottle supply after UK-based GreenBottle in late February filed for administration, that country’s equivalent to bankruptcy. At the time, Truett-Hurst said it had found a new supplier.

    “We are enthusiastic about the early sales and consumer pull for our PaperBoy brand,” said Phil Hurst, co-founder and chief executive officer of Truett-Hurst. “We have also been impressed with Ecologic’s manufacturing approach and this agreement illustrates our confidence in their product and commitment to producing packaging produced locally.”

    PaperBoy is available in 45 states and retails for $15 a bottle for the 2012 Paso Robles red blend and the 2012 Mendocino chardonnay.

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