The pilot, which is vital to accelerating Carlsberg’s ambition of making the beer bottle a commercial reality, will see 8,000 Fibre Bottles being sampled in eight Western European markets: Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland, United Kingdom, Poland, Germany and France. The bottles will be placed into the hands of local consumers, customers and other stakeholders through select festivals and flagship events, as well as targeted product samplings.
Testing at this scale will give Carlsberg the opportunity to gather feedback on people’s experiences of the product, which will inform the next generation of design.
The new Fibre Bottle leverages the potential of PEF
A significant milestone for the Fibre Bottle is its plant-based PEF polymer lining, which has been developed by Carlsberg’s partner Avantium, a leading expert in renewable chemistry. PEF is made entirely from natural raw materials, is compatible with plastic recycling systems, and can degrade into nature should it end up outside national recycling systems.
Beyond its sustainable packaging benefits, PEF functions as a highly effective barrier between the beer and the fibre outer shell, protecting the taste and fizziness of the beer better than conventional fossil-fuel-based PET plastic. The outer shell of the bottle, produced by the packaging company Paboco, consists of sustainably-sourced wood fibre and is also bio-based. This shell has the added benefit of insulative properties which can help keep beer colder for longer, compared to cans or glass bottles.
Stephane Munch, VP Group Development at Carlsberg, says: “We are delighted to bring our new Fibre Bottle into the hands of consumers, allowing them to experience it for themselves. This pilot will serve a greater purpose in testing the production, performance and recycling of this product at scale.”
“Identifying and producing PEF, as a competent functional barrier for beer, has been one of our greatest challenges - so getting good test results, collaborating with suppliers and seeing the bottles being filled on the line is a great achievement!”
The bottle is 100% bio-based apart from the cap, which is currently needed to ensure the quality of the product, and together the bottle and cap are fully recyclable. Going forward, Paboco, Carlsberg and partners in the wider Paper Bottle Community are exploring alternative fibre-based bottle caps, with a generic solution expected in 2023. Carlsberg will continue development, together with Avantium and Paboco, to arrive at a tailored 3.0 solution that is equally suitable for primary beer packaging, using this year’s consumer feedback and Paboco’s developments.
Brewed with unconventional barley
Advancements have not been limited to the bottle itself, as Carlsberg has also bottled a more sustainable brew for its 2022 consumer trials. In collaboration with barley malt supplier Soufflet, Carlsberg has brewed a beer with barley that has been cultivated using fully organic and regenerative agricultural practices. More specifically, cover crops have been grown in the organic barley fields to contribute some additional benefits of regenerative farming.
While consumers can still expect the same distinctive Carlsberg taste, the methods used to farm the barley are set to improve farmland biodiversity, enhance soil health, and increase natural carbon sequestration by the soil versus conventional farming methods.