It will let firms access its injection molding and blow molding facilities at four US sites in Chino, California, Allentown, Pennsylvania, Wytheville, Virginia, and Ames, Iowa, to launch products at lower volumes.
Alkaline Water in Arizona
Michael Hodges, director, communications, Amcor Rigid Plastics, told BeverageDaily, it is already working with companies including Alkaline Water in Scottsdale, Arizona.
Amcor supplies Sophi cylindrical polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottles in 500ml, 700ml, and 1L sizes for Alkaline Water Co.’s Alkaline88 premier alkaline drinking water with an 8.8-pH balance.
He said the benefits of UpStart include reaching the market you want more cost effectively, working with high-volume suppliers who want to explore niche markets and utilising a regional production and nationwide manufacturing network for regional launches.
“By listening to our current customers and working with new start-up companies over the past few years, we recognized the trend that the beverage market was becoming more diverse and more customized based on consumer wants,” said Hodges.
“Our customers needed the ability to introduce smaller, more customized brands. We felt we needed to assist with their efforts and so, the genesis of the program to focus resources and capital into a smaller volume system was started.
“The program is not only focusing on soft drinks but cold-fill and hot-fill customers.”
He added, in the past, tooling costs to outfit large-cavity injection tools and large-scale blow molding equipment could cost more than $1m, but it can offer reduced tooling cost by to 75%.
Small-scale blow equipment
As well as using its small-scale blow equipment, its facilities are located near co-packers, who can fill products for market trials and offer freight savings with bottle delivery.
“We would love to continue developing the network,” said Hodges.
“Amcor's focus will be on meeting the needs of our customers if the business case makes sense.”
Speaking about Alkaline Water Company, he added Alkaline88 is made using electrochemically activated (ECA) water to create 8.8-pH drinking water without the use of chemicals.
It claims it uses Himalayan minerals, providing health benefits to fight disease and boost the immune system. The company, founded in May 2013, saw a 570% growth rate last year and sales over $1m per month.
It has multiple distribution channels including direct store distribution (DSD) for small bottles, Anheuser-Busch distributors and independent carbonated soft drink (CSD) and non-alcoholic drink distributors.
“Before, you couldn’t go to Amcor and buy direct unless you were a major beverage company,” said Steven Nickolas, president/CEO, Alkaline Water.
“This program has helped us alleviate our shortage issue because Amcor keeps a large inventory.”
Broad availability of Amcor bottles on the East and West coasts enabled Alkaline Water to streamline and standardize its offering across the US, relying less on different manufacturers with varied style containers.
In addition to the smaller PET bottles which are supplied from its five contracted facilities in southern California, Arizona, Texas, Alabama, and Ohio, Alkaline Water is exploring the potential of Amcor supplying PET containers for the company’s 3L product.