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Amcor Brings rPET Flat Wine Bottles to the United States

Amcor's space-saving flat bottles with Garcon Wines.
Amcor partners with sustainably optimized flat wines inventor Garçon Wines to bring lightweight, space-saving 100% recyclable rPET bottles stateside.

For home buyers, it’s all about location, and that same tactic worked seamlessly for Amcor when it officially uncorked a recent packaging innovation at the perfect venue: Unified Wine and Grape Symposium.

That’s where a couple of months ago the plastic packaging supplier announced a collaboration with multi-award-winning start-up Garçon Wines based in the United Kingdom to manufacture and supply the company’s signature flat wine bottles for the U.S. market.

Versus glass in particular as well as standard plastic wine bottles, the flat bottles are sustainable in shape — the taller, more slender profile saves space — and in the plastic being molded from post-consumer (PCR) recycled PET, rPET. The rPET bottles are 100% recyclable. Versus glass bottles, flat bottles are 87% lighter and volumetrically 40% smaller — more than twice the number of bottles fit on a pallet and they’re 100% recyclable.

After gaining traction in the UK and Europe, rPET flat bottles will arrive with patents and patents pending and become widely available in the U.S. in the second half of 2020.

PlasticsToday learned the following from Jonathan Jarman, Amcor marketing manager, Spirits & Wine.

The innovation plays into Amcor’s core competencies.

The company has extensive experience in designing and producing unique shapes such as flasks and travelers for decades—including in plastic wine packaging for more than 15 years.

“Amcor has been highly successful in 187mL wine bottles and is the largest supplier of PET bottles in the industry,” says Jarman. “Our engineering and design teams have adapted our proven knowledge and capabilities to produce this unique wine container. Amcor has identified key partners, particularly on the handling/filling side, who have equally stepped up to the challenge to meet the filling needs of a large-scale manufacturing process.”

“Amcor has been highly successful in 187mL wine bottles and is the largest supplier of PET bottles in the industry.

It’s well timed — a youthful evolution in wine drinking is underway.

“New, modern looking packaging options are a way to capture the style and spirit of today’s younger consumer,” says Jarman. “Brands are looking to diversify their product lines and employ packaging for emerging brands and brand refreshes.

With an overall drop in wine growth, the industry is shifting its attention to these younger consumers. This has been most apparent in the last few years with more size options, higher quality wines in bag-in-box, the birth of the craft style winery, and more ‘alco-pop’ options such as seltzer and craft cocktails. “

PET and rPET are desirable alternatives versus other packaging materials.

“It’s less expensive, in greater supply, easily customizable, extremely durable, resealable, and results in up to 70% less greenhouse gas emissions,” Jarman points out. “PET containers can be offered in different sizes, finishes, and can include an overcap. Amcor designers continually work on the latest PET bottle innovations to meet the evolving requirements of brand owners and manufacturers in the wine industry.”

More “out-standing” aspects.

Jarman believes that by being slightly taller than an average bottle, flat bottles enable greater merchandising presence in a retail setting to increase visibility and drive sales and will be distinctive on the dining table.

The design offers another unique, space-saving feature round that bottles don’t: They’re stackable.

It’s ecommerce optimized.

The book-size bottle fits into European mail slots. And while that’s not an advantage stateside, the format’s light weight and space-saving aspects is ideally suitable to ecommerce channels.

“Lightweight, durable containers are ideal for food and beverage delivery through ecommerce and this package paves the way for that to happen in the wine world,” offers Jarman.

Capital expenditures were minimal.

No “unusual” costs were incurred in this development according to Jarman because the project fell within Amcor’s standard product development effort for design of a custom container and didn’t pose any particular molding challenges. The company is considering production at a facility on the West coast or Midwest.

Available as a 750-mL bottle for now, other sizes are on the horizon.

Additionally, the bottles will be available in clear or any colors that customers request. “One of the advantages of PET is the ease and flexibility to produce an almost limitless range of colors,” says Jarman.

Challenging and rewarding.

“In addition to our excitement in working with Garçon, our partnership with them is reflective of our desire to take on unique challenges,” Jarman tells PlasticsToday. “Bringing new ideas like Garçon’s to life is extremely rewarding — it required thinking about existing markets in different ways. The flat Garçon wine package is an inspired vision and to be trusted to turn that into something widely available in the US is a very high compliment.”

Images: Garçon Wines

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