Thursday 1 July 2010

Bottles and Labels: The Present and the Future

UPDATE: This was a full blog post but it turns out the piece I posted was used in print (I didn't think it had been) so I had to take it down. There's not much left to see except for a few plastic bottles. In the piece I suggested some extra-sensory labels which was inspired by Pete Hollingsworth's great article on it which is well worth reading. Anyone who did read my piece before I took it down should forget that you saw it here...!

To keep the post alive... what could the future of beer containers and labelling realistically be? Is plastic an option? Lighter glass? Aluminium bottles/cans? Extra-sensory labels? No labels? Shaped glass? What do you think? 


  1. Can't really comment on the future of labelling and packaging, but I thought your piece very good indeed, though where you'd publish it is another question. Trade techie magazines? Then maybe it isn't technical enough? Not sure, but it should have found a published home I'd say.

    Either way, it was a well written piece I felt. Well done!

  2. Didn't see the article, but when it comes to packaging I guess my only concern is that the beer doesn't leak. It is always the beer that is important rather than the pretty pictures on the label.

    In the American context, it would be nice if brewers actually bothered to tell up what ingredients go into the beer, let alone getting all fancy pants.

  3. I've seen 500ml PET bottles of "quality" cider (Aspalls) so that may be on its way to the beer market before too long.

  4. I don't like the idea of plastic or any other substitute. I would like to see some more interesting bottles though, a bit of imagination in the shaping would be nice.

  5. Tandleman - thanks, I really appreciate you saying. I found it difficult to write, to be honest, given that it was for a business audience, but it was a good way to try and learn a different style of writing. It has been published (and funnily enough I got an offer for it to be published somewhere else a hour after I posted this blog!).

    Al - I really like labels with ingredients, I think it's a great piece of inside info for the informed drinker.

    Curmidgeon - PET is interesting. There's so much stigma in the UK that I don't think it will succeed but in certain markets (low-end of Eastern European market, for example) it holds a 10% market share. It'd take a lot for me to buy beer in plastic...

    DJ - some of the Italian bottles are very good looking as are some UK bottles - Moor, for example. For me, good branding is very important. There are some very handsome NZ and Italian beers around.

  6. Not at all disimilar to the wine world - heavy glass, fancy label, proper cork = quality but it will still end up in a landfill or recycled. Lightweight glass feels cheap but has good green credentials.