The new PET beer bottle
PET liquid packaging solutions specialist, Sidel, has launched what it says is the world’s first-ever pasteurisable lightweight PET bottle for beer with a non-petaloid (petal-shaped) base.
The innovative bottle also supports a crown cap, which together with the non-petaloid base gives the bottle the appearance of glass, but with all the advantages of PET.
This includes the lightweight and increased mechanical properties of PET. Most notably, the new bottle is said to weigh only 28 grams, which is up to 86 percent less than an average equivalent glass bottle, according to Sidel data.
Around five billion PET packaging units of beer are currently sold a year, about two percent of the global market, with glass and metal being the most widely used materials.
To prove the benefits of its technology, Sidel has blown a 330ml version that it says can achieve a six-month shelf life (with less than one parts-per-million (ppm) of oxygen ingress and less than 17 percent of carbon dioxide loss.
When packaging beer it is critical to prevent oxygen entering and carbon dioxide escaping the package. The new bottle design can achieve this, says Sidel, with different solutions, such as single-layer material blends and its proprietary ‘Actis’ gas-barrier technology.
Certain types of beer require a PET bottle with a petaloid base, but Sidel’s new bottle has a unique base and other design technologies that mean it can resist the pressures produced by the prolonged high temperatures during the production process, while still retaining the appearance of a more traditional glass bottle.
“We want to help beer producers take advantage of the flexibility, lighter weight, sustainability and lower costs offered by PET, by producing a bottle that is more attractive to the next generation of beer consumers who want their drinks packaging to be more sustainable, convenient and user-friendly,” explained Christophe Bunel, Head of Packaging Care at Sidel.
“For many consumers, a petaloid base is associated with other product categories, such as carbonated soft drinks or sparkling water, and therefore when it appears on a beer bottle it can negatively affect the brand perception.
But increasingly consumers are becoming more aware of the benefits of PET, because they experience it as the preferred packaging material of choice in other food and beverage areas in their life. So to help producers and consumers alike make the transition we wanted a bottle that looked like glass, but has all the benefits of PET.”
Sidel says that it can disprove common misperceptions around beer in PET bottles, such as it getting warmer quicker. In fact, in Sidel’s studies, its beer bottle kept beer cold for the same time duration as an equivalent sized glass bottle, with much less wall thickness and hence much less material weight.
Sidel says in order to ensure that taste, amongst other things, is as good in PET as in other materials, it ran advanced packaging optimisation and qualification tests on the new bottle, including finite element analysis and feasibility testing to evaluate bottle stability, liquid quality protection and rigidity. Finally it ran full industrial production tests to prove the bottle’s performance, both during production and across simulated supply chains.
Sidel is currently in conversations with some of the world’s leading and most well known beer producers on how to bring the benefits of PET to beer using its new bottle design and packaging technology.