W. Amsler has focused new resources and expanded its participation in the beer and spirits packaging market. It has provided market-entry assistance to customers like JMS International Packaging, a leading packaging solutions provider, in the areas of design, development, and pre-production runs. “This is a major milestone for us in terms of cracking the craft beer industry,” said Marc Leblanc, owner of JMS International Packaging. Heidi Amsler, sales and marketing manager for W. Amsler, said: “We’re excited about the future prospects of converting glass to PET and creating environmentally-friendly barrier packaging for the beer and spirits markets.”
The idea of using PET growlers was appealing right from the outset, according to Sue King, owner of Arch Brewing. She noted that the shape, color, and look of the bottle were a close match to the traditional 1.9L glass growler bottle that is common in the industry. “Growlers are a really big seller for us and we see an opportunity for growth with the people who love the 1.9L format, but shy away from it because glass isn’t welcome in all environments,” said King. “The craft brewing industry is about innovation and about trying new things so we’re proud to be on the cutting edge by offering PET growlers.”
W. Amsler sees strong opportunities in glass conversion applications where barrier PET bottles have a strong fit due to their light weight and portability. The amber PET container is manufactured by W. Amsler at its Bolton, Ontario, facility on behalf of JMS International Packaging on a W. Amsler all-electric, single-cavity linear series stretch blow molder. The PET barrier container weighs 106 grams versus 1.2 kg for the glass version, thus resulting in reduced shipping costs. It is also event-friendly, unbreakable, and 100% recyclable, according to the company.
The 64-oz, 106-gram container was designed by W. Amsler with standard preforms supplied by Preform Solutions Inc., Sioux Falls, S.D. It incorporates a barrier with a monolayer structure which includes a Sherwin Williams’ barrier additive. The barrier prevents oxygen ingress and egress and loss of CO2, thus providing up to a 12-month shelf life versus 48 hrs for standard PET growlers. This monolayer barrier solution is compatible with existing recycling streams. The high-density polypropylene (PP) handle, designed by JMS International Packaging, is produced separately and attached to the container via a secondary process. The PET container can accept the same steel or plastic recloseable caps that are found on the glass growlers today.
The PET growlers are also available in clear color with or without barrier protection for ciders, craft sodas, craft cocktails, and liquor. Custom growlers can be produced in different shapes, colors, and engraving. Pressure-sensitive labels can be applied and a screen printing process can also be used. W. Amsler offers PET growlers in small batch (pallet or less) availability to meet craft brewer needs.
A growler is a jug commonly sold at breweries and brewpubs as a means to sell take-out craft beer. The significant growth of craft breweries and the growing popularity of home brewing have also led to an emerging market for the sale of growlers.
“We’ve set a new benchmark in terms of shelf life and provided craft brewers a highly viable alternative to the standard glass container,” said Amsler. Unbreakable and portable PET growlers provide an entry into venues that do not allow glass because of the potential for breakage and other security requirements.