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New PEN bottles in Denmark

Danish Brewery Group (DBG) has launched its Royal Pilsner and Royal Classic beers in new refillable 38-cL bottles of polyethylene napthalate (PEN), made by Rexam Petainer in Lidköping, Sweden.

In 1999, Carlsberg launched a similar PEN bottle in Denmark when only refillable bottles were permitted for beer.

The new 36-g bottle is expected to yield six months of shelf life, says Niels Buchwald, R&D manager for DBG. The bottle design is unique to DBG, says Anneli Johansson of Rexam Petainer, and is a lighter-weight solution than other PEN refillable bottles.

The beer is filled on a modified glass packaging line at DBG’s Albani plant in Odense, Denmark, that employs a new seamer to apply the Maxicrown, a ring-pull crown closure that’s common on Scandinavian beer bottles. From Japan Crown Cork, this Maxicrown incorporates an active oxygen scavenger in its liner. The bottle is geared to retail marketing within Denmark. “Logistics,” says Buchwald, normally dictate “one-way PET bottles” for export.

“In designing the bottle, there were several needs,” Buchwald says. “The bottle should fit into existing crates, yet differ from existing bottles in the market to permit sorting the bottles by hand at [on-premise] locations and by machine at the brewery.”

The PEN bottle is recyclable once it reaches the end of its useful life. It is expected to achieve the same number of refills (15 to 20) as PET bottles, Buchwald says, but fewer than the 35 cycles that DBG reaches with 312-g refillable glass bottles. A six-pack of PEN 38-cL bottles sells for U.S.$7, about U.S.$1 more than a refillable six-pack of 33-cL glass bottles, Buchwald reports.

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