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German brewer second to launch in 'Glaskin'

The second brewery to announce a launch of beer in a Tetra Pak (Geneva, Switzerland) Glaskin™ plastic bottle is Bitburger of Bitburg, Germany. The Bitburger 38 Bigneck is scheduled to reach as many as 10ꯠ Lekkerland/Tobaccoland gas station outlets throughout Germany beginning this month.

Pw 19129 Bigneck

“The ?-L one-way bottle creates a new drinking experience with its special 38-mm diameter neck opening,” says a March 19 Bitburger press release. “The reclosable and unbreakable bottle was developed specifically for the convenience and event markets and is supposed to attract young and excitement-oriented customers.”

Glaskin is a proprietary technology that coats the inside of plastic bottles with a clear layer of silicon oxide. The barrier coating keeps oxygen out and, in the case of beer, carbon dioxide in. “The ‘Glaskin’ layer warrants the highest possible product quality by preventing gas transmission and guarantees a shelf life of six months,” says the Bitburger press release.

Weighing 40g, the distinctively shaped polyethylene terephthalate bottle is one-tenth the weight of the glass bottle Bitburger sells at the same outlets. Front, back and neck labels are paper, and the beer is processed by what Bitburger press officer Dietmar Henle calls “cold-filtration.” No glass/plastic cost comparisons are available at this early date, says Henle.

Contributing to the product’s six-month shelf life is an oxygen-absorbing closure from Bericap, represented in the U.S. by Bericap North America (Burlington, Ontario, Canada). Presumably it’s similar to the Bericap Tapsid® BO2S closure used by Sweden’s Spendrups Brewery for its 500-mL Glaskin bottle of Norrlands Guld (see Packaging World, April ’00, p. 48 or packworld.com/go/beer).

Bitburger plans to accompany the May launch with nationwide radio spots, print ads and point-of-purchase materials. It will be interesting to see how the new bottle fits Germany’s rigidly defined recycling scene. Bitburger says, “The new bottle is completely recyclable and can be conveniently collected via the yellow bag of the DSD.” But elaboration on what that means was not available at press time.

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