Absolut Is Introducing a Paper-Based Bottle for Its Flagship Vodka

The 500ml vessels are getting a test run in England

The new paper bottle for Absolut Vodka, sitting on a desk
A new 500ml paper-based bottle for Absolut is being tested in the UK
Pernod Ricard

Are paper bottles about to become a mainstream option for eco-conscious consumers? While the idea has been attempted before, Absolut Vodka is now about to become the first global spirits brand to sell paper-based bottles commercially in the UK, according to The Drinks Report.

As part of a three-month test, Absolut will sell the experimental bottles in the supermarket chain Tesco, after a previous experiment selling paper-based bottles at festivals. It’s part of the drink brand’s initiative to become carbon neutral by 2030.

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According to a press release, these 500ml-sized single-mold paper bottles are made from 57% paper with an integrated barrier of recyclable plastic. Customers can recycle the packaging as paper, and yes, while glass bottles are also recyclable, paper bottles are eight times lighter and easier to carry. Additionally, Absolut says these paper containers will not replace the iconic bottle designs but “complement” them.

“This is a step closer towards our vision of a fully bio-based bottle,” says Elin Furelid, Director of Future Packaging at Absolut, in a statement. “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.”

Late last year, Absolut and its parent company Pernod Ricard announced an initiative with Ardagh Glass Packaging to start using a partly hydrogen energy-fired glass furnace for large-scale bottle production. The vodka brand had previously released pre-mixed drinks in paper-based bottles. It’s part of a larger movement within the drinks industry to introduce more environmentally-friendly packaging; Diageo experimented with paper-based bottles two years ago for its Johnnie Walker line. The Danish brewer Carlsberg has also experimented with Fibre Bottle, a bio-based vessel for its pilsner. So far, these projects have all started up in the UK and Europe; no plans so far for these paper or bio-based containers to make it over to the U.S.


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