MillerCoors shifts to plastic bottles for economy products

MillerCoors is rolling out new Polyethylene terephthalate (PET) packaging on all of its 32- and 40-ounce singles bottles in its “economy portfolio” of beverages.

“It’s a big investment for us,” said Anna Tsurkis, marketing manager, economy portfolio. “We see these plastic bottles as being an important part of (MillerCoors’) innovation.”

The new plastic packaging is replacing existing glass bottles for its economy brands, including: Miller High Life, Icehouse, Keystone Ice, Magnum Malt Liquor, Mickey’s Malt Liquor, Mickey’s Ice, Milwaukee’s Best, Milwaukee’s Best Ice, Olde English 800, Old English HG800, Red Dog, Steel Reserve High Gravity and Steel Reserve Triple Export. The conversion is not expected to impact price.

Tsurkis said the conversion is in its first stage, with the first plastic bottles hitting shelves earlier this month. The rollout is taking place first in the Great Lakes, Northeast and Southeast regions, with the conversion for these three regions expected to be completed within the next couple months. The conversion to these plastic bottles will extend to the rest of the U.S. in 2015.

The new plastic bottles are being produced at the company’s Trenton, Ohio brewery, Tsurkis said, which will supply all three regions.

This conversion will have a positive impact on consumers, distributors, retailers and on the environment, Tsurkis said.

“The environmental impact is actually quite significant,” she said. “We expect a 20 to 30 percent reduction in our carbon footprint (for these products).”

The plastic bottles will also be much lighter – about one pound less for a 40-ounce bottle, which impacts distribution with lighter loads being transported, Tsurkis said.

In the long term, MillerCoors sees the move to plastic to be a big consumer trend, as other plastic products from the company have been met with a positive reception, she said.

“We believe the future is in plastic,” she said. “We’re excited to be the first brewery to offer this innovation to the economy consumer.”

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