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Rhapsody in blue

Rochester, NY-based Global Beverage's striking cobalt blue-tinted polyethylene terephthalate container is credited with firing up sales of its Bl Botol brand spring water since it debuted about 10 months ago.

"Certainly the Bl Botol name means nothing to consumers" says vice president David Lyttle. "I really think it was the package that drew consumers to it." The marketer had previously sold a sparkling water in a cobalt blue glass bottle though not of the same design. The mold for the PET bottle's diamond design is owned by Merlen Foods (Sherwood Park Alberta Canada) which also acts as Global Beverage's contract packager for this product. Merlen sells water under its own label in the exact same container in a green tint which won an award in this year's Intl. Bottled Water Assn. packaging competition says Merlen's John Leslie vice president of sales & marketing. The bottle is injection stretch/blow-molded by Mission Packaging (Calgary Alberta Canada). Regarding the economics Global Beverage's Lyttle admits the cobalt color "definitely makes it a more expensive package to produce." But the payback in sales growth he says was worth it. Though he wouldn't disclose specific sales figures he says Global Beverage was pleased enough with the performance of the 1/2-liter bottle that it introduced in March new sizes in 1 and 11/2 liters. Available nation-wide the packages sell for about 99¢ $1.29 and $1.49 respectively competitive with national mass-market bottled waters says Lyttle.

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