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AquaPenn's 8-oz PET breaks the size barrier

AquaPenn Spring Water Co. has what it believes is the smallest polyethylene terephthalate bottle for a nonalcoholic beverage in the country. Holding just 8 oz of spring water, the Quick Quench bottle was launched in mid-January, targeted primarily at foodservice institutions.

But retail outlets will be a part of the mix as well where the suggested retail price will be 49¢. PET bottles this small have been considered impractical for most beverage marketers because as the bottle gets smaller the amount of resin required gets proportionately higher relative to the amount of product being sold. If the product is expensive like alcoholic spirits this doesn't pose as much of a problem as when the product is an inexpensive soft drink or spring water. This has made glass a more likely candidate than costlier PET for small single-serve bottles. So how does AquaPenn justify its new bottle? Falling resin prices no doubt helped. But another key was to lightweight the bottle as much as possible thus minimizing the amount of resin the firm has to buy. AquaPenn's custom bottle produced by Johnson Controls (Manchester MI) tips the scales at a mere 16 g. According to AquaPenn chairman Ed Lauth another means of holding costs in line is to use corrugated trays and shrink wrap rather than standard corrugated shippers. "That reduces our costs by about 35 percent" he estimates. Another big advantage comes in shipping where AquaPenn can load nearly twice as many trays of 8-oz bottles on a truck as it can cases of larger bottles. The end result is that yes a profit margin is possible. Lauth admits it's smaller per unit than with larger bottle sizes but it's enough to justify the launch. He hopes to ship as many as 50 million units this year marketing the palm-sized Quick Quench bottles as a "single-serve solution."

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