Ipswich, England —A British company is replacing glass wine bottles with a unique paper alternative, and bringing the product to the United States. Frugalpac designs and manufactures paper wine bottles in an effort to help decarbonize the drink industry.
“The overall carbon footprint is much, much lower on a paper bottle than it is on the equivalent glass bottle. We believe it’s up to six times lower,” Frugalpac’s product director JP Grogan told CBS News.
The Frugalpac bottle weighs less than 3 ounces — almost five times lighter than a conventional glass bottle, saving on fuel and emissions in transport. Because each bottle starts its life flat-packed, it also means more of them can be transported at once.
In their factory in Ipswich, southern England, the pre-cut recycled cardboard goes through a purpose-built machine that bends and folds the paper into the shape of a bottle and inserts a plastic pouch to hold the drink.
Grogan insists the new format does not alter the taste of the wine.
“Some of our customers have tested with wine and we’ve tested with vodka. People have not been able to find the difference between our products and a product that’s been stored in a control glass bottle,” he told CBS News.
Wine put into paper bottles won’t have as long a shelf-life as that packaged in conventional glass, however. The company estimates red wine can be kept for 18 months in its bottles, while white wine will only last around a year.
This year, the Monterey Wine Company became the first American firm to adopt the innovation. The California-based producer purchased the assembly machine that will allow it to complete the paper bottles in-house for shipment.
“Our partnership with Frugalpac has allowed us to get behind the scenes of how this bottle is made and find U.S. producers for the [card]board and supply the materials right here from the U.S.,” the Monterey Wine Company’s Shannon Valladerez told CBS News.
Frugalpac hopes the reduced carbon footprint and unique shelf appeal of its paper bottles will convince more producers around the world to adopt its model and purchase their assembly machines.
“The whole idea is that we locate the machine close to the producers of the beverages and just limit the amount of movements,” Grogan said. “We put the machines in the different locations and allow them to source components from their own suppliers.”