08 Sep 2021 By By Alice Davies
The brewery market is saturated with new, up-and-coming brands, as well as established names that have been doing this gig for a long time. But what’s becoming more and more clear is that it’s the battle of the packaging, which is making some brands stand out more than others.
And it makes sense. Packaging is seriously important for breweries. With supermarket aisles full to the brim of bottles and cans, beer and ale connoisseurs can try something different every week, if they wanted to. But with the choice being so overwhelming, it’s those brands with the eye-catching packaging that often get taken home and cracked open. According to Virginia Craft Beer, almost 30% of consumers go off appearance, rather than what it might actually taste like. That might be a sucker-punch to the stomach for breweries, but just goes to show the power of packaging and design.
But breweries also need to think about protective packaging in transit too, which can sometimes take away from the appeal when placed on supermarket shelves. There’s a thin line between getting something to look good and not break in the process. So sit back with a cool one and take a look at why packaging is so important for breweries.
Before your beer, ale, IPA, or lager can even reach the consumer, it needs to get there in one piece. But what materials do you choose? And, of course, there are additional price issues when it comes to certain materials - as well as affecting the taste of the product.
Aluminum, glass, or PET bottles all come with their own advantages and disadvantages. Aluminum is easy to transport, as it’s extremely lightweight - there’s also less risk of anything smashing during transit. The material also allows companies to be innovative; think Coors Light and their temperature-reactive feature, which allows consumers to know when the beer is cold enough (the mountains change to light blue). Aluminum can also protect against heat, oxygen, light, and pollution, ensuring that the product inside isn’t affected.
Glass is an extremely common option when it comes to brewery packaging. But from a protective point of view, it’s not as ideal as aluminium. Of course, it has to be handled with a lot of care, as glass is much more fragile than aluminium, but it also depends on the shade of glass you use too. Some shades don’t protect the product inside, especially from UV rays, which can affect the taste. Not ideal!
So now we come on to PET, which stands for polyethylene terephthalate. It’s lightweight, won’t smash, and because of the durable, moldable material, it’s far easier to transport. It’s starting to become a clear choice for breweries - but consumers still need to be convinced. PET may be protective from a transport point of view, but it limits the protection of the product inside, as it tends to not keep beer fresh after about 6 months. The semi-transparent packaging also means that the beer isn’t fully protected from harmful UV rays.
So which materials are best for showing off your product? With aluminium cans, you have a full surface in which to catch the consumer’s attention. This can then be easily replicated on cardboard crates too.
For glass bottles and PET plastic, there’s nothing to say you can’t use the whole bottle, but this is much more expensive and could mean the bottle can’t be fully recycled. PET bottles tend to look a little cheaper than glass or aluminium cans, which means you might have to spend a little bit more making them look classy. This additional cost might not help in the long run.
With glass bottles, there are innovative ways of making the smaller label work for you, including peelable labels, with competitions and more information on the other side. Again, this might not make the product fully recyclable however.
In today’s precarious world, having eco-friendly packaging is essential. Not only do consumers look for it, the world needs it. Doing as much as we can to ensure the products we’re producing are as environmentally friendly as possible is essential for the future of the world.
Let’s take a look at the materials we mentioned previously. Aluminium is highly recyclable; however sometimes not as recyclable as glass, depending on the type of aluminium chosen and the packaging design used. Aluminium has been known to affect the taste of the product and some consumers are still concerned about the levels of BPA from aluminium (although this has been disputed).
Glass bottles can be fully recyclable, especially if the label is easily removed (and made of paper). Consumers often prefer glass bottles for the ease of recycling, as well as the fact that taste isn’t affected. However, it’s not just the consumers you need to think about when looking at the eco-friendliness of your packaging. Glass bottles are heavier and therefore have more of an impact on the environment from a transportation standpoint.
In the UK, 70% of soft drinks are already packaged in PET plastic bottles. It’s understandable why so many breweries are following suit. PET can be recycled over and over again, which is pretty incredible and also makes it extremely sustainable. The lightweight nature of the product also means the impact on the environment from a transport point of view is lessened as well.
For breweries, it’s obvious that packaging is important and there are lots of decisions to make about packaging, especially when it comes to eco-friendliness and as a marketing tool. Your budget will play a huge part in which type of packaging you go for - but don’t forget to splurge a little on the design, as an attractive can or bottle can appeal to a wider audience - especially those who are lingering in the supermarket aisle on Friday night after work.
Copyright © 2021 Shipster Solutions. All rights reserved.