Spirits Industry First: a Paper Bottle

Diageo announces Johnnie Walker Scotch whisky will have plastic-free packaging starting next spring
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 13, 2020 11:55 AM CDT
Coming Soon: Top-Shelf Booze in a Paper Bottle
A handout photo shows the new bottle.   (Johnnie Walker, via Reuters)

Tired: drinking out of a paper bag. Wired: drinking out of a paper bottle. Starting next year, you'll be able to do the latter, thanks to a spirits industry first. Reuters reports that Diageo—maker of such brands as Tanqueray, Captain Morgan, and Smirnoff, among others—has teamed up with venture management company Pilot Lite to launch Pulpex, a sustainable packaging company. One of Pulpex's first missions: to offer Johnnie Walker Scotch whisky in a paper bottle that doesn't use plastics. The newly formed firm will also create similar packaging in other categories, including for PepsiCo and Unilever, which makes Lipton iced tea.

Diageo says it's the first company to come up with a paper bottle for spirits that can be recycled, per The Drinks Business, which notes other companies have been hard at work developing beer and wine bottles made of paper. Danish brewer Carlsberg, for instance, has been working on a paper beer bottle for five years. But while the bulk of that container is, indeed, made of wood fiber, there's an inner plastic barrier so that the bottle can hold beer. Diageo's new bottle doesn't have such a liner: Instead, it uses a spray coating to form a barrier so the liquid doesn't seep out. "We are constantly striving to push the boundaries within sustainable packaging, and this bottle has the potential to be truly groundbreaking," the company's sustainability chief says. The new Johnnie Walker bottle will be part of a limited-edition trial run starting in spring 2021. (More whisky stories.)

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