Bass's Bill Dando had ample opportunity to elaborate on beer and plastic bottles when he presented a paper at Nova-Pack Americas '98 on January 27 in Fort Lauderdale FL. Highlights/excerpts follow: Is it real? "I'm not here to try to tell people what's right and what's wrong. But I would like to try to reassure the bottle converters and process equipment people that it might possibly be worthwhile taking this whole thing seriously." Bottle economics: "If you believe you can create a market demand [for a particular package type] then people will accept paying more and we can then through the laws of supply and demand drive costs down. But we've got to start somewhere." Prior art: "We weren't reinventing wheels here. We were looking for technology transfer or best practice. And there's a lot of people out there who've been involved in the field with valuable learning. So we listened and observed." Global heritage: "This project showed to me we really are in the days of global package development now. Gone are the days when I'd get in the car and drive an hour down the motorway in the U.K. and talk to someone and say 'Okay we want your technology.'" Searching for support: "Other brewers coming on board with some kind of plastic bottle is a vital issue. If you guys don't start jumping on the bandwagon here we're never going to drive the cost down. This pack is relatively expensive at the moment. But we want to drive costs down. Look at what's happened to PET pricing in the carbonated soft drinks area. There is no reason whatsoever in my opinion why if we start buying [these materials] in bulk we can't meet in all respects the cost of the glass package." Savings in production and distribution? "I have some data though I'm not going to share that with you today. I may want you to get on the boat but I'm not going to buy you the ticket. But if you apply common sense you can see you get 30 percent more liquid on the same pallet. And the retailer gets 30 percent more liquid on the shelf." Looking to cut weights? "Probably not. One of the things consumers like is a rigid bottle. So it was made as rigid as possible. [Suppose the bottle were less rigid] and a consumer took the crown off and squeezed the bottle slightly and suddenly there was liquid in the air spilling all over? I think we have to be cautious about how cost really fits into all of this. Understanding the market and getting the package design right is much more important than cost at this stage." Exclusive technology? "We have contractual arrangements in the relative short term where we seek to maintain an exclusive relationship in terms of access to this technology. But that is something we are currently reviewing. The technologies are moving forward quickly." Nova-Pack Americas '98 the 3rd Int'l. Conference on Rigid Polyester Packaging Innovations for Food and Beverages was sponsored by Schotland Business Research (Skillman NJ). Copies of the conference proceedings are available for $395.