An innovative shrink-film sleeved bottle has helped Tokyo's Asahi Breweries boost sales of its Super Dry and Dunk beers despite lower overall beer consumption in Japan. The returnable glass bottle is both attractive and "green."
In an industry first, Asahi Breweries' "Steiny" bottle is covered from top-to-bottom with a stylish shrink-film sleeve made from Eastman Chemical Co.'s Eastar copolyester, a glycol-modified polyester (PETG). The brewery says the bottle has contributed to a "significant increase" in sales of Super Dry and Dunk beers in the Tokyo area since it was introduced last April. This comes in a time when beer consumption in Japan for January-August 1998 was about 90% compared with the same period in 1997.
"This is the first time that shrink film has been used to cover an entire glass beer bottle," claims Bill McAdams, manager of Eastman's Specialty Plastics business in Asia Pacific. "It is a truly innovative packaging concept that makes both a fashion and environmental statement." Eastar copolyester is recyclable and safe to incinerate.
The shrink-film sleeve serves as an outer skin for the 334-mL "Steiny" bottle. For Asahi Breweries' popular Super Dry, the main portion of the sleeve is the same silver-and-black design featured on cans. The neck of the sleeve is black and perforated with a series of tiny holes so the plastic can be easily removed and the cap opened with a pull-tab.
Tough, Durable, Good Aesthetics
"The sleeve requires a tough, durable material with good aesthetics that you can perforate and print on easily," McAdams said. "Eastar copolyester has excellent shrink characteristics and molds to the container extremely well."
The shrink-film sleeve serves several functions, according to Asahi Breweries. It preserves the quality of the beer by blocking out light. Since it covers the edge of the cap, it is tamper evident and keeps the rim of the bottle clean. And if the bottle breaks, the film prevents the glass from shattering.
Eastman introduced Eastar copolyester in 1977 for use in packaging applications ranging from food to cosmetics to electronic, electrical and medical products. The company recently opened a 30,000-t./y. plant in Kuantan, Malaysia, to produce Eastar and Spectar copolyester plastics.