Stora Enso, relying on its CKB (Coated Kraft Back) board, has focused on the key requirements in the spirits packaging sector and become the preferred supplier for the major brands.
Stora Enso claims that good runnability on the bottling line, strength and a strong printing surface have convinced Absolut, one of the world's biggest-selling premium vodkas, to switch to CKB board in 125 markets.
The United States is the biggest market by far for Absolut. An important distribution chain in the US are price clubs, where products are sold in bulk. The transport cases thus also serve as sales cartons, which usually contain 6-12 bottles. The company first successfully launched the cases on the US market, and now they are used in 125 countries around the world.
"We tested a total of six different board grades and, based on the results, we selected CKB as the top liner. The runnability properties of CKB were the best of all the boards we tested and it has proved to be reliable, which is an absolute must at these volumes. The packaging also acts as a strong message in the market, promoting the Absolut brand," said Håkan Alvesson, purchasing manager for packaging materials at Absolut.
Absolut is bottled in southern Sweden, and it is from here that this product is exported around the globe. Depending on bottle size, there is room for 6-24 bottles in the cases and each flavour has its own case. Alvesson emphasised that the packaging must run smoothly on the bottling line, protect the bottles during long transportation distances and finally serve as effective sales packaging, making Absolut stand out among hundreds of competing products.
The main manufacturer of these packs is Smurfit Munksjö Packaging which also uses CKB. According to Bo Hillström of Smurfit Munksjö Packaging, Stora Enso's CKB board made it possible to optimise the material for the Absolut case - previously the top liner was a 210-gsm board, now it is a 185-gsm board.
Per Fjellström, responsible for beverage cartons at Stora Enso, said that CKB board had become the leading board material used by big beer and spirits producers. Stiff and strong material with good runnability in printing and packaging machines is typically required for packing these products. CKB also has a competitive edge because the multilayer kraft back board is double blade coated, enabling excellent printing results with a variety of printing and finishing techniques - a vital feature for beverage brands in consumer marketing.
Absoulut, the third largest international spirits brand in the world, uses Stora Enso's CKB board in its sales cartons, which has helped towards making CKB the leading supplier for the major brands in spirits industry.
For more information about Stora Enso's packaging capabilities please contact Per Fjellström.