Sidel launches new glass-look PET bottle for beer
Swiss PET liquid packaging company Sidel has launched the world’s first-ever pasteurisable lightweight Polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottle for beer with a non-petaloid base.
The innovative bottle also supports a crown cap, which together with the non-petaloid base gives the bottle the appearance of glass, but with all the advantages of PET. Most notably, Sidel said the new bottle weighs only 28 grams, which is up to 86 per cent less than an average equivalent glass bottle.
Around five billion PET packaging units of beer are currently sold a year. Sidel said this was about 2 per cent of the global market, with glass and cans being the most widely used materials. The Company said this had also been the case in the past with many other food and beverage products, including juices, water, carbonated soft drinks, olive oil and sauces, that have since made the switch to PET from other packaging materials. Sidel said the switch to PET was not surprising “considering the safety, strength, flexibility, lighter weight, recyclability, design flexibility and greater convenience that PET offers”.
“We want to help beer producers take advantage of the flexibility, lighter weight, sustainability and lower costs offered by PET, by producing a bottle that was more attractive to the next generation of beer consumers who want their drinks packaging to be more sustainable, convenient and user-friendly,” said Christophe Bunel, Head of Packaging Care at Sidel.
“For many consumers a petaloid base is associated with other product categories, such as carbonated soft drinks or sparkling water, and therefore when it appears on a beer bottle it can negatively affect the brand perception,” Mr Bunel said.
“But increasingly consumers are becoming more aware of the benefits of PET, because they experience it as the preferred packaging material of choice in other food and beverage areas in their life,” Mr Bunel said. “So to help producers and consumers alike make the transition we wanted a bottle that looked like glass, but has all the benefits of PET,” he said.
New beer bottle uses ‘champagne’ base
Sidel said the new PET beer bottle utilises a ‘champagne’ base that is more traditionally found on glass beer bottles, which will help beer producers and consumers alike make the switch more easily. The bottle also supports a crown closure that also mirrors those more typically found on premium beer products.
To prove the benefits of its technology, Sidel has blown a 330 millilitre version that the Company said can achieve a six-month shelf life (with less than 1 parts-per-million (ppm) of oxygen ingress and less than 17 per cent of carbon dioxide loss). The Company said it can also provide versions up to 600 millilitres and is developing sizes even bigger.
When packaging beer’ Sidel said it was critical to prevent oxygen entering and carbon dioxide escaping the package. Sidel said the new bottle design can achieve this with different solutions, such as single-layer material blends and Sidel’s proprietary Actis™ gas-barrier technology.
Current pasteurising equipment can still be used with new bottles
Sidel said the bottle can be used for flash or tunnel pasteurised beer, and also micro-filtrated beer. For tunnel-pasteurised beer a PET bottle usually requires a petaloid base, but Sidel said its new bottle has a unique base and other design technologies that mean it can resist the pressures produced by the prolonged high temperatures during this production process. According to Sidel, the bottle can withstand pressures of 20 pasteurisation units (PU) in the tunnel, which is standard for lagers, and retains a stable base after pasteurisation. Furthermore, the bottle design can be used on existing tunnel pasteurisers that currently serve glass bottles.
Sidel working to change ‘misperceptions’ about beer in PET
Sidel said that for many years there had been misperceptions about beer in PET.
For example, some consumers mistakenly think beer in PET gets warmer quicker. In fact, in according to studies undertaken by Sidel, its beer bottle kept beer cold for the same time duration as an equivalent sized glass bottle, with much less wall thickness and much less material weight. Taste is also another misperception, according to Sidel, with some consumers falsely believing beer tastes better in cans instead of PET bottles.
As the a leading global specialist in PET liquid packaging solutions, Sidel said it wants to help change these misperceptions and bring the great benefits of PET to beer as well.
Sidel it has been helping producers package their beer products for over 40 years. The Company is currently in conversations with some of the world’s leading beer producers on how to bring the benefits of PET to beer using its new bottle design and packaging technology.