An aluminium bottle is a bottle made of aluminium (or aluminum, in American English). In some countries, it is also referred to as a bottlecan. It is a bottle made entirely of aluminium that holds beer, soft drinks, wine, and other liquids.
History and overview
The aluminium beverage bottle made via the impact extrusion process was introduced to the North American beverage market in the fall of 2001 as an ecological alternative to plastic bottles by Coca-Cola under the Powerade brand (Psych and Raize) at the National Association of Convenience Stores NACS Show. The Powerade aluminium bottles were supplied by Exal Corporation. Youngstown, Ohio-based Exal Corporation, the world's largest producer of impact-extruded aluminium packaging, is the most significant supplier of aluminium bottles in North America and Europe including most bottles utilized by major brewers. The company also markets a new high speed technology, known as Coil to Can or (C2C), that allows for the manufacture of aluminium bottles at weights 30–40% below the weight of impact extruded bottles at 2 to 4 times the manufacturing speed. C2C technology also utilizes post consumer recycled (PCR) aluminium alloy to manufacture aluminium bottles. Hermitage, PA-based CCL Container a subsidiary of CCL Industries, a leading producer of recyclable aluminium bottles, packaging, aerosol containers and other specialty products, started developing bottles in 1989, in North America for non-beverage applications.
- Two Japanese brewers, Sapporo Brewery of Tokyo and Kirin Brewery Company, officially introduced the aluminium beverage bottle in 2000 in Japan.
- In Japan, over two billion recloseable bottle cans are sold each year.
- As mentioned above, the first aluminium bottles came to market in North America in 2001 as Coca-Cola marketed two new Powerade brand energy drinks in bullet-shaped, resealable aluminium bottles.
- In 2002 Alternative drink provider, Snapple, launched Mistic RE, its first energy drink, with a resealable, rocket-shaped aluminium bottle.
- The Big Sky Brewing Co. in Missoula, MT was the first US brewer to put their beer in aluminium bottles. The first beer bottled was Moose Drool Brown ale.
- Anheuser-Busch was the first major brewer to launch a national brand in an aluminium bottle in 2004. The success prompted the organization to double aluminium bottle production capacity in 2005 to support the Bud Light, Budweiser, Michelob Lager, Michelob Light, Michelob ULTRA and Anheuser World Select brands. The company has also introduced limited edition bottlecans that commemorate popular holidays and events. Special limited edition aluminium bottles have been marketed through licensing arrangements with Major League Baseball, the National Basketball Association and the National Football League. Anheuser-Busch has utilized the aluminium bottle extensively in its advertising even saluting,"Mr. Blue aluminium Bottle Maker" believed to be Exal Corporation, as a part of the Bud Light Real Men of Genius advertising campaign.
- Pittsburgh Brewing Company was the first brewer to launch a multi-region beer product in aluminium packaging. In 2004, it introduced Iron City Premium Lager in an aluminium beverage bottle. The company shipped 20,000 cases to distribution centers in 30 states and these initial units sold out within 24 hours of hitting the shelves. A photo of the Iron City aluminium bottle was the “most viewed” photo on Yahoo! the day following its launch and it was named one of Business Week’s “Best New Products of 2004" in its December 13, 2004 issue.
- Heineken introduced its H2 brand in an aluminium bottle in 2004.
- Vincor International, Inc., Canada’s largest marketer of wine, and Denmark-based Absolut Spirits Company, adopted the aluminium beverage bottle for some of their vodka-based beverages.
- In the Dominican Republic, Cerveceria Nacional Dominicana, the Dominican National Brewing Company, moved their premium products to aluminium beverage bottles.
- Bright Brothers, a Portugal-based winery, was the first company to introduce wine in aluminium bottles.
- In 2008 two North American marketers stepped forward in using light weight, C2C aluminium bottles. Blue Spike Beverages (Montreal) introduced Octane 7.0 a vodka/guarana based drink and Eaux Vives Water Inc. (Toronto & St. Mathieu) introduced ESKA still and sparking water.
- Also in early 2009, at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, Coca-Cola, Samsung and Sapient introduced a dynamic, touch screen aluminium bottle vending machine that brings the latest interactive technology to the vending process. The completely interactive touchscreen front panel allows a potential buyer to scrutinize a product prior to purchase - just like consumers do at a retail store. Consumers can select a Coca-Cola product, packaged in an aluminium bottle; give it a spin to peruse its ingredients, consider the package and review anything else they would like to know prior to purchase. The technology is documented on YouTube.
- For 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil, the Brazilian beer Brahma launched the Special Edition aluminium bottle "Brahma - Seleção Especial", with the Brazil National Football Team design and the beer made with a barley planted in Granja Comary, CBF's training center (the origin of the barley is until controversial). Budweiser, also partner of the tournament, has launched a special aluminium golden bottle, too.
Characteristics and advantages
The aluminium bottlecan is made of 100 percent recyclable aluminium similar to that of an aluminium beverage can. However, it is shaped similar to a traditional beverage bottle, with many designs including resealable lids. A broad range of aluminium beverage bottle profiles, styles, and configurations, are available for commercial production, including “traditional”, “oval”, and “sport shapes”.
A variety of standard finishes are available for aluminium bottlecans that are designed to work with industry standard closures and caps, in addition to standard bottle filling operations. Some traditional finishes include: 26 mm standard crown cap, 38 mm lug finish, 38 mm continuous thread with plastic sleeve, 38 mm ROPP and 28 mm continuous thread finishes.
Beverage marketers choose aluminium bottlecans for many reasons, including the fact that they are resealable, recyclable and durable. The bottle itself serves as the label and bottles can also be shaped in a variety of ways.
“Cooler longer” claim
A study conducted by engineering science students at Loyola College in Maryland suggested that the liquid content of aluminium bottles stays slightly colder than the liquid content of glass bottles when allowed to warm at room temperature. These results were not corroborated by a 2005 study at Bucknell University, which found that “the fluid in the aluminium bottle cools much faster than the glass bottle, and once removed from a cold source and exposed to room temperature, the glass bottle remained cooler longer than the aluminium bottle.” This conclusion is consistent with the fact that the bulk thermal conductivity of aluminium (237 W/(m·K)) is significantly higher than that of glass (1.1 W/(m·K)), as well as the fact that aluminium bottles are significantly thinner than glass. While the glass versus aluminium debate may make sense in connection with beer bottles, soft drinks are another matter. The majority of those bottles are currently plastic, while most beer bottles are glass.
Aluminium is a silver-white, soft metal and the most abundant metallic element, comprising 1/12 of the Earth's crust. It must be combined with oxygen and other elements and processed to produce the aluminium used in bottlecans. Bottlecans are made from 100 percent recyclable aluminium through either an extrusion or Coil to Can (C2C) process to a wide range of shapes and sizes. Impact extruded bottles are produced with three times the aluminium of a traditional beer can, which provides for increased insulation. C2C bottles use 30%-40% to less aluminium than impact extruded aluminium bottles. Exal Corporation has pioneered the use C2C technology to manufacture aluminium bottles. In terms of sustainability aluminium bottles and cans are the most desirable product in the recycling stream as the use of recycled aluminium requires only 5% of the energy required to manufacture virgin aluminium. According to Earth911.com, each year the US aluminium industry pays $800 million for empty aluminium bottles and cans. This is for the benefit of communities, industry and the environment.