We have often reported how the drinks industry is changing its production methods to become more environmentally friendly but now the products themselves are under the spotlight. A European group, the Circular Economy Platform for Glass Collection & Recycling, is aiming to have 90% of all EU glass packaging recycled by 2030; the figure currently stands at 76%. A consumer survey found that 80% of Europeans still prefer buying wine and spirits in glass bottles and spending on products packaged in glass has risen 51% in the last 3 years. The ‘Close the Glass Loop’ group, supported by Spirits Europe, also aims to improve the quality of the recycled glass as currently only 52% of it ends up back in the production loop. However, this has not stopped the production of alternative packaging. Wine sold in cans has really taken off and Waitrose is pioneering a new sustainable packaging – wine in tubes. Following their aim to become the leading sustainable retailer in the UK, the ‘bag in tube’ wines are 100% recyclable and contain the equivalent of 3 x 75cl bottles. Once opened, the wine will remain fresh for 10 days longer than when in a glass bottle. Sustainable packaging has also inspired the Paper Bottle Company (Paboco) which is being supported by Pernod Ricard. Remy Martin have gone one step further and announced that they will discontinue gift boxes on a number of their products, in certain markets, in order to reduce waste and improve sustainability.
Launched last year, Avallen Calvados has been hitting the headlines as a ‘product with a purpose’. Created by Healthy Hospo founder Tim Etherington-Judge and wine and spirits specialist Stephanie Jordan, they set out to make the most sustainable spirit possible and so chose calvados. Avallen means ‘apple tree’ in Old Cornish and is made without the addition of sugar, caramel or boisé. It is packaged in a lightweight bottle with a label that sends the message ‘Bee-ing positive has never tasted this delicious’. Its packaging won a Master medal and €0.50 from each bottle sold will be donated to organisations dedicated to restoring and protecting bees. Aged for only two years it is a pretty young spirit, but the sustainability message will surely resonate with many in the current climate.