Absolut launches first-ever commercially available paper bottles in the UK

Absolut Vodka is claiming to be the first global spirits brand to sell single-mould paper-based bottles commercially in the UK as part of its journey to create a fully bio-based bottle.

As part of a trial, Absolut Vodka is embarking on a three-month test for its single-mould paper bottle to be sold in Tesco. The paper bottle initiative is part of a wider collaboration to help the drinks and packaging industries push the boundaries for sustainable packaging.

This is the first time such paper-based bottles have been sold commercially in-store by a global spirits company and follow some previous tests by Absolut at festivals in the UK and Sweden.

The trial aims to gain insights from consumers, retailers and supply chain partners to inform the next steps on Absolut’s innovation journey towards a commercially viable, fully bio-based bottle. Absolut will test how the paper-based bottle transports and how consumers perceive it. Unlike the initial pilots which were for Absolut Mixt ready-to-drink, which had low ABVs (5%), this 500 ml bottle will be tested using the higher 40% ABV of Absolut Vodka.

Elin Furelid, director of Future Packaging at Absolut, said the move is a “step closer” towards a vision of a fully bio-based bottle.

“We are exploring packaging that has a completely different value proposition. Paper is tactile; it’s beautiful; it’s authentic; it’s light. That was our starting point. But this is not just an idea on paper,” Furelid added.

Absolut Vodka is on track to be a carbon-neutral product by 2030, with its distillery emitting 98 per cent fewer emissions than the average distillery (according to Beverage Industries Environmental Roundtable (BIER)). In November last year, it announced its initiative with Ardagh Glass Packaging to start using a partly hydrogen energy-fired glass furnace for large-scale bottle production.

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