The distiller hopes the new lightweight plastic will get the product into more "usage occasions"-e.g. yard parties the beach etc.-than was likely with the previous heavy glass container. Designed by Hughes Design (Norwalk CT) to replicate the proprietary glass bottle sans handle the plastic bottle features a pinched waist for easy gripping. Prominently molded into the back of the container is the Smirnoff crest. Injection/stretch-blown in two stages by Schmalbach-Lubeca (Manchester MI) the bottle weighs in at a hefty 100 g versus 83 g for a stock bottle according to UD&V's Dick Blanchard director of packaging technology. "We wanted a real stiff rigid premium feel to this package" he says. Also unique for the liquor industry says Blanchard is that the bottle is sprayed with Lubri/Stat a coating from Container Automation Systems (Waukesha WI) that adds lubricity for better bottle handling and scuff-resistance plus anti-static properties to reduce the attraction of dust. The coating is applied at the bottle molder. On the filling line UD&V and Krones (Franklin WI) worked extensively to modify the latter's cold-glue labeler to accurately place the elaborately shaped die-cut paper label with an accuracy of +/- 2 mm in an embossed outline molded into the front of the bottle. Despite the extra plastic used to achieve sidewall rigidity Blanchard confirms the new bottle is cheaper than glass though he declined to say by how much. Retail price varies from state to state ranging from $14.99 to $20.99.