WCBN-mr-2-Aleco-ALe2coAchieving extraordinary shelf differentiation is an ongoing challenge for any craft beverage brand trying to be noticed in a seemingly endless array of competitive products vying for the consumer’s attention at retail. While there are many ways to put a different spin on a glass bottle with shapes and different labels, they are all just that – another glass bottle.
Seeing a need for a modern, unique, and eye catching packaging alternative that could also provide a significant improvement in sustainability over glass, entrepreneurs Scott Coors and Evan Watkins teamed up to form ALeco Container LLC (www.evolutionbottles.com) and put together a small but mighty team to develop a state of the art solution which could be manufactured in the USA. The result of their efforts is the Evolution Bottles 750ml Featherweight aluminum bottle, designed specifically for craft spirits, wines, brews, mixers and other beverages.
Thanks to this revolutionary new bottle, capturing the consumer’s attention on the shelf just became exponentially easier. With photo quality, full wrap color digital graphics for the full sidewall circumference of the bottle, and minimum order quantities as low as just one case, this stunningly unique package not only stands out on the shelf but represents a leap forward in sustainable packaging for an industry that has been effectively limited to glass since the dawn of time.
Less is more
A truly ideal beverage package, the Evolution Aluminum bottle addresses all of the inefficiencies of legacy glass bottles head on. With its unique “featherweight” design, it is 80-90% lighter than glass equivalents, effectively reducing the weight of filled product by more than 35% or over ten pounds per case. Not only does this provide dramatically improved shipping efficiencies, but combined with its shatter resistance results in easier handling, reduced back injuries, and no spoilage or injuries due to glass breakage.
Glass: Loyal, but Limited
Glass packaging, while a tried and true standard for hundreds of years, is heavy, fragile, and space inefficient due to the thickness required to hold pressure and/or resist impact.   While recyclable, it has a low value to density ratio and is typically separated by color before being recycled as different colors cannot be easily combined to produce a consistent color of finished glass. Therefore its recycle rates depend heavily on the distance from the location in which it is turned in for recycle to both a glass recycling facility and a customer for that particular color of recycled glass. As either of these distances increase, so does the cost to transport it, and due to its low value, simple economics limit how far it is worth shipping to be recycled. As a result, a significant portion of glass put in recycle bins winds up in landfills.
Aluminum: Stunningly strategic
Aluminum, which enjoys the highest recycle rate of any packaging material due to its high value to density ratio, is virtually never placed in a landfill no matter where it is turned in for recycle. It is also light weight, space efficient, provides full light protection, chills quickly, is shatterproof, and can literally be recycled forever. Available in either screw top/ROPP or crownable/corkable top finishes, ALeco’s bottles are specially coated with a custom FDA approved liner that isolates the product from the aluminum to protect against any flavor impacts and provide for optimum product shelf life. With over 1,000 pounds per pallet in weight savings vs. glass, a truckload of packaged beverages also saves approximately 24,000 pounds or 30-35% of transported weight providing for dramatically improved shipping efficiencies. With the help and expertise of aluminum suppliers Golden Aluminum and Novelis, ALeco was also able to identify a high recycle content alloy that could withstand the stresses of bottle forming. As a result, it bottles are made from a minimum of 80% recycled aluminum, thus bolstering demand for recycled materials and increasing value and turnover throughout the recycling chain.
The next big step in packaging evolution
Scott Coors’ father, Bill, now 99 years old and tremendously excited by ALeco’s achievements, is credited with the development and commercialization of the two piece aluminum beverage container in the early years of his visionary leadership of Coors Brewing Company in the 1950’s. This paradigm shift in packaging material and technology was the (intentional) genesis of the recycling movement as we know it today. Since that time, beers, sodas, and other single serve beverages have enjoyed the efficiency and sustainability benefits of aluminum, though until recently, the can was the only available option. Thanks to advances in alloys and manufacturing technologies, strikingly unique and functional aluminum bottles have recently become a consumer hit for brands such as Coors, Miller, Budweiser, Heineken, Coca Cola, and many others. Until now, however, aluminum package technology has been predominantly limited to production of single serve containers, effectively isolating the larger format beverages from this innovative package. ALeco Co-Founders Coors and Watkins are incredibly proud of their success in creating a revolutionary new package that finally makes the aesthetic and ecological benefits of aluminum Bill pioneered over 65 years ago available to a broad new spectrum of customers in the wine, spirits, and related industries and to help usher in a new age of stunningly sustainable larger format packaging.