Cardboard bottle tequila brand hopes to inspire industry shift in sustainability

By Rachel Arthur

- Last updated on GMT

Pic: Buen Vato
Pic: Buen Vato

Related tags Tequila Bottles Sweden

Sweden’s Buen Vato is launching a cardboard tequila bottle: saying it is ‘on a mission to shake-up the drinks industry’ by investing in sustainable manufacturing and cutting transport emissions.

The bottle is made from 94% recycled material and launches in Europe in July, starting with the Swedish market.

The brand sees the bottle’s main goal as reducing emissions during transport: with consumers still having the choice to pour tequila into a crystal bottle at home for serving.

Frugal bottle

Buen Vato is a product of AliasSmith AB, a company that has invested in and developed Mexican brands in Europe over the last 18 years. The company’s tequila bottle is based on the Frugal Bottle, made by British company Frugalpac – a bottle that offered the best solution for packaging tequila, the company told us.

“It was hard to find the availability of products and producers with innovative solutions for packaging: the cardboard bottle market is not yet generalized and available for all countries and this makes the goal of changing the industry harder. We have been working on this project for a long time and have technically evaluated several packaging options until we settled with Frugal Bottle, which turned out to be the best option for the markets we are aiming for.”

The bottle is assembled from two recycled paperboard shells formed around pouch to contain the liquid. This creates a bottle that is considerably lighter and thus overall can cut CO2 emissions by 88% and use 6x less energy, according to the company.  

“It feels lighter than a glass bottle and the cardboard is rigid, so it is resistant. The idea gives the consumer the option to pour the spirit into a reusable glass container at home. Through this, this we aim to change our traditions of buying separate heavy glass spirits and lower emissions in transport and packaging.”

The inner lining uses the same technology as existing bag-in-box formats.

“The [inner] pouch is made using the same proven material found in existing bag-in-box Polypropylene technology and offers the same 12+ month shelf life. The Frugal Bottle uses up to 77% less plastic than a plastic bottle: only 15 grams against a 64g wine bottle made from 100% recycled plastic. Once the consumer has finished, the food-grade pouch is easily removed and the paperboard is placed into the paper/cardboard recycling.”

Inspiring industry change

buen vato inset

The company says the bottle is just the start of its efforts: pledging to ‘constantly redesign’ the production, packaging and business model.

In 2019, it took part in The Swedish Beverage Industry’s Climate Initiative (DKI) with the goal of reducing the industry’s carbon footprint. Subsequently, the company decided to invest in projects with the lowest possible negative impact and inspire the industry to do better.

“The Buen Vato concept is to find better options for our products in terms of environment, this includes packaging, transport, production, and end of life, and Buen Vato Tequila is our first product.

“We are constantly looking to improve in every way the environmental proposal and hope that the volume in this first period gives us the needed proof to justify further investments so we can create even bigger improvements for the environment.

“Through Buen Vato, we hope also that this market will grow so more options will be available for more companies to implement in their own production of spirits, and do better for the environment, and that is the goal with our product to show that we can be successful with other alternatives and not just heavy glass.”

And it's this industry transformation that is most important to Buen Vata – the company acknowledges that the cardboard bottle is more expensive than a glass bottle at the moment but believes that the cost will be driven down over time and create a mass opportunity for their format.

“The approximate cost for a cardboard bottle like this is around 2-3-fold the cost of a generic glass bottle. However, some of the cost for labels is saved as the artwork is already printed during the production. 

“It can be reduced when more spirit companies join the movement for changing heavy glass bottles and there is more demand for this kind of bottles. This is what Buen Vato is aiming for: normalizing the use of innovative solutions.” 

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