Absolut launches world’s first commercially available paper bottles for spirits
Absolut has launched a version of its 500ml vodka housed in single-mould paper bottles, in what it claims is a global first.
The innovative bottles went on sale at 22 Tesco stores across Greater Manchester earlier this week. They will be stocked for three months.
Developed as part of the ongoing Paper Bottle Company (PaBoCo) collaboration with other businesses such as Carlsberg and Coca-Cola, the packaging has a single-mould outer made of paper plus an integrated plastic barrier. It is 57% paper with most of the remaining material being plastic.
Absolut claims that the plastic barrier is recyclable via rubbish collections from homes in the region. As well as reducing plastic use, the bottles can help to minimise emissions from transport. They weigh around one-eighth as much as a standard glass bottle for Absolut.
Absolut has already trialled paper bottles for mixed, ready-to-drink products – but these had a far lower alcohol content, meaning changes to the design plus additional testing was needed for straight vodka. It has also trialled paper bottles at festivals, but not through a major retailer.
These latest trials will be used to collect feedback on the performance of the innovative bottles from across the value chain, including logistics, retail and consumers.
The trial aims to gain insights from consumers, retailers and supply chain partners to inform the next steps on Absolut’s innovation journey towards a commercially viable, fully bio-based bottle. Absolut will test how the paper-based bottle transports and how consumers perceive it. Unlike the initial pilots which were for Absolut Mixt ready-to-drink, which had low ABVs (5%), this bottle will be tested using the higher 40% ABV of Absolut Vodka.
“This is a step closer towards our vision of a fully bio-based bottle,” said Absolut’s director of future packaging Elin Furelid. “We are exploring packaging that has a completely different value proposition.”
Paboco officially launched in October 2019 as the result of a collaboration between renewable material company BillerudKorsnäs and plastic bottle manufacturing specialist Alpla. Its ‘paper bottle community’ of businesses includes big names such as The Coca-Cola Company, Carlsberg, L’Oreal and The Absolut Company and P&G.
Absolut first tiralled paper-based bottles in late 2020, for its ‘Mixt’ products. It subsequently developed a new iteration of the bottle, without plastic in the neck, in 2021. Then, last year, it confirmed plans to develop and trial a bio-based, fully recyclable bottle cap.
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