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First PET, pasteurizable

In England, Coors Brewing Co. has launched Reef, a vodka-based fruit drink, in a three-layer plastic barrier bottle that’s fully pasteurizable.

Pw 16138 Coors

Made of KoSa (Houston, TX) PET resin specially designed to withstand pasteurization temperatures, the bottle is believed to be the first commercially successful pasteurizable PET bottle. The 330-mL (11.15-oz) bottle weighs 32.5 g and is coinjection stretch/blow molded by UK Petplas Packaging, a division of Pechiney Plastic Packaging (Chicago, IL).

“The bottle doesn’t distort when heated,” says David Wiggins, head of packaging at Golden, CO-based Coors. “Now that we can provide our product in plastic bottles, we can introduce our beverages to venues where glass can be a problem.”

Reef was first introduced in 330-mL glass packages in January, 2000, and it remains available in that bottle today. The plastic containers, which debuted in early April and are filled on the same line as the glass, are primarily for outdoor venues.

Ken Brooks, a technical development manager at Coors, says the plastic bottle costs about 1½ to 2 times as much as a 330-mL glass bottle. Some of that, he notes, is passed along to consumers, who seem willing enough to pay it, he adds.

The plastic Reef bottle is a three-layer structure that is “fundamentally” PET/ethylene vinyl alcohol/PET, according to Oliver Murphy of UK Petplas. Front and back paper labels are glue-applied. The steel crown, which has an oxygen-absorbing liner, was modified slightly, says Wiggins, so that it can be applied to the plastic finish with a little less clamping force than would be used for glass. —PR

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