In 1980, when Norm and Bill Lutz founded Waterloo Container, the East Coast economy was dependent on manufacturing, agriculture and dairy. Among these giants, a few wineries were sprouting up, trying to establish a place in an industry dominated by California wines.
Starting with a small inventory of bottles, Bill traveled all over New York State to offer a new local service desperately needed in the East.
Sales were steady and our winery customers began to expand and new wineries continued to spring up. Waterloo Container grew right alongside them and became a one-stop shop – adding closures and shipping boxes in the mid-80s. We earned a reputation in New York and nearby states as a company with in-stock inventory, fast and reliable service and family values.
By the 1990s, Bill began stocking new and innovative bottles and offering customized and personal service to stay competitive in the Eastern United States and Canada. That’s also when we realized we needed a manufacturer located here in the United States. We started a partnership with an American manufacturer and never looked back. Today, we are proud to work alongside Ardagh, manufacturer of glass bottles here in the United States. Our partners – just like our customers – have been extremely influential in our success and we are proud to work with the best in the industry for glass, corks and closures.
Over the decade that followed, we continued to add to our products and services to become the largest stocking distributor of glass containers and packaging supplies in the northeast. In 2004, we added a personalized packaging program that completes the branded look from bottle to box.
Annette Lutz joined her husband Bill at Waterloo Container in 2004, taking the helm of our Human Resources department, where her responsibilites included payroll and hiring. Her duties quickly expanded into many key areas of the business. Annette was not only instrumental in the success and growth of Waterloo Container during her time here, she was also undoubtedly the heart, soul and spirit of our workplace. She gave all of us at Waterloo Container an understanding of our need to contribute to our community, appreciation of every customer and willingness to go out of the way to make things happen. She radiated positivity while exhibiting determination, strength and grace through adversity.
In recent years, many customers have mentioned to us how special it was to get a personal, hand written note from Annette thanking them for their business, or asking about family or special occasions. As the business grew, the number of notes required became quite numerous, but she continued to write them as long as she was able. For those of you who didn’t know her personally, these notes were a true labor of love and evidence of her investment in each and every person she knew through the business. With the passing of Annette in 2019, the notes have been silenced, but the message lives on.
We are proud to be an integral part of the wine and craft beverage industry’s growth in all of Eastern North America. We look forward to continuing to grow together over the years to come.