Corona's six-packs made from surplus barley straw

Thursday, 18 March, 2021

Corona's six-packs made from surplus barley straw

Corona has launched a new circular form packaging for beer six-packs — harnessing surplus barley straw to create a sustainable paper packaging solution.

Barley seed will continue to make the beer but barley straw, a leftover from farmers’ harvests, will now be used through a unique pulping process built to handle its relative fragility.

Three years in development by AB InBev’s Global Innovation and Technology Center (GITEC), the process reimagines the use of barley, giving the essential beer ingredient new life as a sustainable packaging solution.

Combined with 100% recycled wood fibres, this process creates a paper board that is as strong and durable for a regular six-pack but designed to be better for the planet.

The process used to turn barley straw into paper fibre uses 90% less water in its production than the traditional virgin wood pulping process, along with less energy and fewer harsh chemicals. Corona sees this as one path forward to eliminate the need for virgin trees and raw material from their supply chain in the future.

Upon completion of the successful pilot, AB InBev, Corona’s parent company, will review rolling out the technology to other brands.

Felipe Ambra, Global Vice President of Marketing, Corona, said: “Corona is a brand born at the beach. We’re deeply connected with nature and appreciate all that it has to offer, so we want to continue to do our part to protect it. Our deep reverence for nature is what inspires our vision to become a sustainability leader in the CPG industry, because we want everyone to be able to keep enjoying paradise.

“Starting with our own packaging, we assessed where we could make changes within our production and supply chains to make a real difference. We are proud to announce this first step in reinventing the future of packaging for our industry.”

Keenan Thompson, Director of Packaging Innovation at AB InBev, said: “We’re excited to finally launch this new packaging innovation we’ve been developing over the past three years. At AB InBev we are continually pushing boundaries by developing scalable solutions. Today is a proud moment for us, not only are we providing an opportunity for farmers but we’re also delivering a more mindful solution to the consumer.”

The new packaging launched with an initial 10,000 six-packs rolling out as a pilot in Colombia in March, followed by Argentina later in 2021 as Corona looks to scale the new solution globally.

Image caption: Corona's new barley straw packaging (Photo credit: Business Wire)

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