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Packaging

12 August 2021

Lightest longneck beer bottle in the world

Weight reduced | According to a press release from June 2021, AB InBev has developed and produced the world’s lightest longneck beer bottle on a commercial production line. The brewer managed to reduce the weight of its standard longneck beer bottle from 180 to 150 grams, cutting its CO2 emissions by 17 % per bottle.

With packaging making up, on average, 50 % of its product carbon product footprint, such innovations are an important part of AB InBev’s Sustainability Goals, which include a 25 % reduction in CO2 emissions across its value chain by 2025.

The brewing company calls this new lighter bottle an important environmental and technological breakthrough. The bottle has been developed at the brewer’s Global Innovation and Technology R&D Centre, GITEC in Leuven, Belgium. The project is not without its challenges, however: “Quality and safety are non-negotiables and all new packaging innovations undergo extensive testing before they can be released to market,” says Frederik De Graaf, Global Director, Packaging Technology Development at AB InBev, and adds: “When reducing the weight of the bottle, we’re faced with strength challenges – beer is, of course, a carbonated drink and inside pressure can build up due to the gas expanding under certain heat conditions. We also need to be mindful of the speed of our filling lines inducing high impact forces on the bottles. Ultimately, a combination of state-of-the-art equipment, skilled operators and process improvements are helping us to achieve this innovation.”

AB InBev is now exploring how to roll out the new bottle, in Europe initially, in one way bottles. In markets where the brewer is present with returnable bottles – which have a lower environmental footprint due to the bottles being reused several times – the next challenge for the GITEC team of scientists will be to further develop technologies to lightweight these bottles, which need to survive many cycles.