Amcor Rigid Plastics says US airlines are driving demand for wine bottles made from lighter, cheaper PET rather than glass within the high growth single-serve market.
Amcor uses a barrier coating developed by KHS Plasmax to lend its 187ml PET container an extended shelf life, where the Plasmax Silicon Oxide (SiOx) nano barrier is a “glass-like material that seals the container from the inside to protect the contents from oxidation”.
The largest blow moulder in the US (a division of Australia-based Amcor) welcomed what it said was one successful recent conversion from 187ml glass to its PET bottles (with aluminium screw caps) undertaken by the US’s fourth-largest winery, the Bronco Wine Company (picture below).
The winery said it was keen to tap the trend towards single-serve wines, has invested in new 187ml filling equipment, and was considering contract filling opportunities for other brands.
Bronco’s retail and airline sales rose as a result of the switch from glass, Amcor said, with the winery winning business with airlines Delta, United and Southwest.
Fred Franzia, Bronco president, said that PET-packaged wine could be sold at parks, concerts and other outdoor venues, while airlines were drawn to the light weight of PET (one-sixth of glass) and sustainability benefits.
Venues that had traditionally banned glass bottles due to fear of breakages were another potential market, he said, adding that the switch had benefited brands such as Crane Lake, Red Truck and Coastal Ridge.
“We’ve added customers in the on sale (restaurants, bars) and off sale (retail) segments, plus increased sales with our airline customers,” Franzia said.
He added: “We’re able to offer the consumer a convenient, lightweight container that is 100% recyclable. And just as important, the reduced cost is allowing us to increase our customer base.”
Amcor Rigid Plastics also announced yesterday that it had begun operating a PET bottle production plant at PepsiCo’s Gatorade production site inPennsylvania.
The new in-line operation at Mountain Top would produce around 650m hot-fill bottles per year for the sports drink brand, Amcor Rigid Plastics said, while delivering increased efficiency, cost savings and sustainability benefits.
Historically, the Gatorade plant bought in bottles from third-party suppliers, but Larry Weber, vice president and general manager, Amcor North America Beverage Group, pointed to the advantages (outlined above) of onsite manufacturing.
State and local authorities have lent Amcor’s Rigid Plastics division $100,000 (€78,000) to help build the site and train staff, according to a company release.