June 2015 – Unlike more and more wines, beer is still not bottled in cardboard boxes. However, this might change soon. Due to an increasing number of web-based orders, in particular, endeavours are now in progress to reduce the weight of beer packaging as efficiently as possible. A folding box made of recycled corrugated cardboard will soon be competing with plastic crates. It would not be the first time that the material is changed: metal was followed by wood, and wood by plastic. What’s so special about the beerboxx is its folding technique, as the box size can be flexibly adjusted to suit requirements, thus simplifying the shipping procedure for breweries and beverage distributors. The design of this innovative box is plain and monotone, avoiding any unnecessary environmental impact due to intensive colour printing.
Bags vs. bottles: pros and cons
Although natural cork enthusiasts find it difficult to admit, bags in boxes are growing in popularity, even among quality wine producers. A wine box is essentially a film-coated plastic bag with a plastic tap. The benefit of this packaging over its energy-intensive competitor, glass, is that it emits less carbon dioxide during the manufacturing process and that it is less heavy, so that savings can be made in shipping and customs duties. The questions that are still in dispute are the product life and the taste of the product. While some experts are convinced that a corrugated cardboard box has a particularly long life due to its almost hermetically resealable tap, others believe that this actually shortens its life. Undesirable changes to the fermentation process can modify the taste and cause the alcohol to become undrinkable more quickly.
The internationally renowned beer brand Carlsberg has set itself the goal of launching wood-fibre-based beer bottles and containers by 2018. The new “green fibre” bottles are non-transparent, unbreakable and have a clearly recognisable fibre structure. Moreover, they are said to be biodegradable from top to bottom. Instead of a plastic seal, the Danish brewery apparently uses a new impermeable coating. The wood fibre for the bottles is said to come from sustainably managed sources.