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Bass unveils PET/EVOH beer bottle in U.K.

"We scoured the world for the right technology." That's how Bill Dando, director of package development at Bass Brewers in Burton-on-Trent, England, describes the process that led to Bass' recent launch of one beer and one "alcopop" in identical high-barrier plastic bottles.
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The alcopop is Hooper's Hooch an alcoholic lemon drink. The beer is Bass' Carling Black Label the UK's largest-selling beer. The 33-cL bottles provide an impressive 12-week shelf life at ambient temperatures.

They're aimed at outdoor and stadium events such as Midland '97 the series of live concerts in England at which the plastic bottles made their commercial debut on December 4. Such venues and the police officers who patrol them have little tolerance for the weight and breakability of glass. As a December 9 press release from Bass puts it: "The new bottles have been welcomed by police and magistrates who are impressed by their suitability for nightclubs and outdoor events."

The three-layer construction-ethylene vinyl alcohol sandwiched between two layers of polyethylene terephthalate-is the patented work of American National Can (Chicago IL) a Pechiney subsidiary. ANC coinjection molds the 29-g preforms in Bellevue OH and blows the bottles at its Batavia IL facility. Dando says that moving bottle production closer to the UK plant where filling is done is on Bass' list of things to do in the new year.

Applied to the 28-mm neck finish is a metal crown closure. Inside the crown an oxygen scavenger is attached that helps prolong shelf life by absorbing oxygen trapped in the head space.

According to Dando the bottles were a big hit at Midland '97. "The response was incredible" he says. "We could hardly keep up with demand." He prefers not to quantify the upcharge Bass pays for its plastic container saying only that plastic is "significantly more than glass currently but we're addressing that."

Dando will describe the bottle's development at Nova-Pack Americas '98 Jan. 26-27 in Fort Lauderdale. Sponsored by Schotland Business Research (Skillman NJ) the conference will also feature a presentation by Anheuser-Busch's Norman Nieder titled "Is Plastic Ready for Beer?"

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