Eco-friendly vodka uses industry-first PET swing-top bottle

Amcor Global
Monday, 23 September, 2013

As part of its sustainability focus, McCormick Distilling Co Inc decided to change the 1.75 L bottle for its eco-friendly 360 Vodka from glass to lightweight polyethylene terephthalate (PET).

The bottle, developed by Amcor Rigid Plastics, is the industry’s first PET container with a swing-top closure. Designed to impart the look and feel of glass, the lightweight PET container delivers sustainability advantages, reduced shipping and transportation costs, and a reduced carbon footprint.

“Amcor did a great job by delivering a crisp, clean bottle and from the feedback we’ve received, consumers have been impressed with its performance and look,” said Vic Morrison, vice president of marketing for McCormick Distilling.

“Lightweight PET not only provided a major savings in terms of freight cost and other supply chain efficiencies but also gave us the glass-like appearance and the shelf appeal to maintain our original unique design and brand image.”

Adapting the swing-top closure to PET was a major design challenge for the bottle manufacturer, says Myles Graybill, Amcor project engineer. Amcor’s Advanced Engineering team performed finite element analysis (FEA) modelling to predict the container’s performance behaviour and adapted the metal-based closure to the 23 mm finish diameter, creating a bottle that would be fully functional.

“The neck design was critical as we undertook many iterations and hours of trial and error to adapt the existing closure to PET,” said Graybill.

Amcor also reduced the bottle’s height from 36.5 to 33 cm, enabling the container to be better displayed on retail shelves. Previously, the height meant that retailers either didn’t stock the product or were forced to place it on a top shelf or lay it flat to display it.

The container is 10% of the weight of a glass bottle, unbreakable and recyclable.

The bottle also features re-usable closures and recycled paper printed with water-based eco-friendly inks. McCormick found that organic grain leaves a larger footprint, so instead chose to source grain grown less than 95 miles from its distillery for the vodka.

The distillery in which the vodka is quadruple distilled and five-times filtered is the US’s most energy-efficient distillery. McCormick offers free postage paid envelopes for consumers to return the swing-top closure for re-use once the bottle is empty. The company donates US$1 for each returned swing-top closure to Global Green USA.

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