Absolut launches “first-ever” commercially available paper bottles


Absolut Vodka

Absolut Vodka says it’s the first global spirits brand to sell single-mould paper-based bottles commercially in the UK, as part of its plan to create a fully bio-based bottle.

The vodka producer is trialling the sale of the bottle in Tesco as part of a three-month test, following some previous tests at festivals in the UK and Sweden. Absolut says this is the first time paper-based bottles have been sold commercially in-store by a global spirits company.

The 500ml-sized single-mould paper bottles will be sold in 22 Tesco stores (RRP £16) across Greater Manchester throughout the summer. These first-generation single-mould bottles are made from 57% paper with an integrated barrier of recyclable plastic, Absolut says.

The vodka producer says customers can recycle the packaging as paper through normal household waste. It also states its goal is for the new paper-based bottle to complement Absolut’s glass bottle, not replace it, and believes consumers will use the paper bottles on out-of-home occasions, such as at festivals.

This is a step closer towards our vision of a fully bio-based bottle.

The trial aims to gain insights from consumers, retailers and supply chain partners to inform how it can make a commercially viable, fully bio-based bottle. Absolut says it will test how the paper-based bottle transports and how consumers perceive it.

Unlike the initial pilots which were for Absolut Mixt ready-to-drink, which had low ABVs (alcohol by volume) (5%), this bottle will be tested using the higher 40% ABV of Absolut Vodka. The paper-based bottle is part of Absolut’s goal to become a carbon-neutral product by 2030.

The paper bottle initiative is part of a wider collaboration with Paboco (the Paper Bottle Company) and their other global brands, The Coca-Cola Company, Carlsberg, P&G and L’Oréal.

Elin Furelid, Director of Future Packaging at Absolut, commented: “This is a step closer towards our vision of a fully bio-based bottle. We are exploring packaging that has a completely different value proposition. Paper is tactile; it’s beautiful; it’s authentic; it’s light. That was our starting point. But this is not just an idea on paper.

We want consumers and partners to join our journey towards a more sustainable future.

“We want consumers and partners to join our journey towards a more sustainable future. Together we can develop packaging solutions that people want and the world needs. That’s why bold partnerships with like-minded organisations to test the waters are going to be evermore crucial on our net zero journey.”

Absolut Vodka says it is on track to be a carbon-neutral product by 2030 and, according to Beverage Industries Environmental Roundtable (BIER) benchmarking study based on data from 2020, its distillery emits 98% fewer emissions than the average distillery. In November last year, it announced initiatives with Ardagh Glass Packaging to start using a partly hydrogen energy-fired glass furnace for large-scale bottle production.

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