First commercial application of PET-based growlers for craft beer market

Plastic growler

Plastic continues to offer opportunities as an alternative for companies looking to convert from other materials. W. Amsler Equipment Inc. (Bolton, ON), a supplier of all-electric linear PET stretch blowmolders, has announced the first commercial sale of 64-oz PET growler jugs to Arch Brewing Co., an independently owned craft brewery in Newmarket, ON. The beer container mimics the competitive glass design and provides barrier protection for extended shelf life, said the company.

Arch Brewing will offer the PET growler as an event-safe alternative to its glass growler. A growler is a jug commonly sold at breweries and brew pubs as a means to sell take-out craft beer. The significant growth of craft breweries and the growing popularity of home brewing have also led to an emerging market for the sale of growlers.

W. Amsler has focused new resources and expanded its participation in the beer and spirits packaging market. It has provided market-entry assistance to customers like JMS International Packaging (Sherbooke, QC), a packaging solutions provider, in the areas of design, development and pre-production runs.

“This is a major milestone for us in terms of cracking the craft beer industry,” said Marc LeBlanc, owner of JMS International Packaging.

Heidi Amsler, Sales and Marketing Manager for W. Amsler, said: “We’re excited about the future prospects of converting glass to PET and creating environmentally friendly barrier packaging for the beer and spirits markets.”

The idea of using PET growlers was appealing right from the outset, according to Sue King, owner of Arch Brewing. She noted that the shape, color and look of the bottle were a close match to the traditional 1.9-L glass growler bottle that is common in the industry. “Growlers are a really big seller for us and we see an opportunity for growth with the people who love the 1.9-L format but shy away from it because glass isn’t welcome in all environments,” said King. “The craft brewing industry is about innovation and about trying new things, so we’re proud to be on the cutting edge by offering PET growlers.”

W. Amsler sees strong opportunities in glass conversion applications where barrier PET bottles have a strong fit due to their light weight and portability. The amber PET container was designed and manufactured by W. Amsler at its Bolton, ON, facility on behalf of JMS International Packaging on a W. Amsler all-electric, single-cavity, linear-series stretch blowmolder. The standard preforms were supplied by Preform Solutions Inc. (Sioux Falls, SD). It incorporates a barrier with a monolayer structure that includes a Sherwin Williams barrier additive. The barrier prevents oxygen ingress and egress and loss of CO2, thus providing up to a 12-month shelf life versus 48 hours for standard PET growlers.

The PET barrier container weighs 106 grams versus 1.2 kg for the glass version, thus resulting in reduced shipping costs. It is also event-friendly, unbreakable and 100% recyclable according to the company.

“We’ve set a new benchmark in terms of shelf life and provided craft brewers a highly viable alternative to the standard glass container,” said Amsler. 

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