There are some for whom the adoption of plastic corks and worse, screw tops, on wine bottles has been a painful and distressing experience. Many have been in denial for years as to the benefits of artificial methods to seal wine bottles holding fast to the belief that real wine is only ever sealed with a cork stopper. I expect my good friend and wine buff Jason Busch although an enthusiastic adopter of technology and about as progressive as any wine connoisseur I know probably in his heart of hearts would feel cheapened at pulling a plastic stopper from a vintage Marguax or Pauillac. The fact plastic stoppers are consistently more reliable than cork in sealing the wine makes traditionalists that much more morose and the irritating convenience of being able to only drink half a bottle and reseal it with a screw top is tantamount to deprivation ” the excuse that it will spoil if we don’t drink it now its opened was for many of us the last line of defense.
So brace yourselves bon vivants one and all because life is about to take a horrible turn for the worse. Boxal of France have recently bought out a range of aluminum wine bottles aimed initially at the upper market female consumer. The firm believes women are more open to innovation in this area and particularly at night clubs or going to parties would prefer to take a four pack of smaller aluminum wine bottles than one larger conventional glass bottle. Not surprisingly, early examples have been sparkling wines line Prosecco or lighter wines like Rose and White Sauvignons.
Boxal is a major can producer but they are not alone. Rexam Packaging is opening a new facility at its factory near Prague in the Czech Republic to produce 60 million aluminum bottles a year under the Fusion brand. The Fusion bottle will come in a range of shapes and sizes for bottling soft drinks, beer and wine, and production will be ramped up to 120 million units and then spread out across the world according to this article. The firm says the more rapid cooling possible with an aluminum bottle, the ability to print a wide range of high technology graphics directly on the can and the very much lighter weight will allow users of the Fusion bottle to not just differentiate their product but reduce transport costs and hence their carbon footprint.
Hopefully adoption of aluminum bottles will follow a similar path to that seen in the beer industry. The bulk brands are widely distributed in cans but the premium brands have remained in bottles. For many of us, the thought of twist top aluminum bottled Chateau Laffite is just too horrible to mention but you can bet some in the aluminum industry are looking on the aluminum bottle as one of comparatively few bright spots on the forward demand curve.