Single-serve wine packaging has diversified over the years in a range of packaging options from airline-sized glass and plastic bottles to cartons, cans and individually portioned glasses.
Is the market ready to turn to a tubular option?
TUBES, a company based in The Netherlands, offers a compact cylindrical form to the wine, spirits, and cocktail market as “by the glass” 50-mL or 100-mL (1.5oz or 3-oz) single-serve tubes molded of glass or recycled PET (rPET) that are both 100% recyclable and indistinguishable from each other except when handled.
“It’s the perfect size for sampling and offers on-the-go portability for occasions such as one-glass picnicking,” suggests Founder-CEO Glen Ritzen, who provided the following takeaways in an exclusive interview.
The benefits of the Tubes single-serve for different channels.
The “by the glass” concept offers customers to truly explore, taste, and experience wine, encourage responsible drinking and at the same time prevent waste.
Benefits include less waste of product along with weight and space savings during distribution.
Ritzen discloses the specific benefits for different market segments:
Retail: We deliver an innovative wine-tasting model as a direct-tasting marketing tool for the retailers. A box with 4 or 6 rPET tubes of wines can introduce the store’s portfolio to consumers by the glass to sample before they buy.
“It’s a new, innovative way to generate data about tasting profiles, upsell a targeted portfolio by the bottle, and improve brand awareness,” Ritzen says.
Travel: A sustainable single-serve solution has become very popular in Travel and Tourism. Advantages versus traditional packs include space savings of 127% more tubes in a drawer; 40% less weight; and the time- and cost-saving benefits valued by the travel industry. The packaging, shown below, features rPET tubes.
Ritzen points out that at WTCE 2019, the company was rewarded with an Onboard Hospitality Award in the category “Best Onboard Beverage.”
“The jury called ‘an innovative product in an innovative format. Premixed cocktails help reduce handling for crew and the concept can be easily personalized for different airlines and could suit both retail or complimentary service.’”
Sampling: Tubes offers a complete full-service sampling service that allows producers to provide professional or consumer clients with a box of 2 to 6 tubes for sampling.
“In light of covid, seven clients can be safely served tubes versus a shared bottle,” says Ritzen.
Product and packaging options are available.
Tubes are customizable for different beverages and branding for retailers, gifts, travel markets or sampling.
Ritzen plans to add a 35-mL version for spirits in the future.
“The production process is perfected and specialized for bottling any varietal of wine, cocktails, and spirits and that’s where our only focus is,” he says.
The standard tube is clear — “the product is the hero,” he notes — and custom orders using colored glass or recycled plastic is possible for high-volume projects.
A standard cap is available in different colors, but other custom options are available.
Customers can choose bottled tubes or additional multipack packaging.
There are two main decorating options.
Every tube can be screen printed in a one-color design of the customer’s choice.
“The screen print can be personalized as desired, except for a few legal specifications,” he says.
Tubes has also sleeve-wrapped tubes with a full-color label.
The tubes are sustainable beyond standard recycling.
In addition to recycling, the tubes can be reused for different storage or decorative purposes, storing spices or craft supplies, or use as a vase for flowers.
“Our ambition is to get the supply chain circular, but as we deliver globally it is quite a task in terms of costs,” offers Ritzen.
Provide Tubes the liquid and they’ll do the rest.
Clients provide Tubes with the product, which can be delivered in liquid itself can be delivered in bulk, bag in box, or bottles. “We work according to privacy standards and have a secured, bonded warehouse with refrigerated storage,” Ritzen adds.
Tubes was founded in 2015.
At the start, the tubes were mostly used by wine critics for tastings, according to Ritzen. “Slowly but surely, Tubes became more popular in other industries and grew out to be a highly desirable item. At the end of 2018, we launched the rPET plastic tube, which opened the doors to fast-moving consumer good markets including retail (supermarket/liquor store chains) and travel including airlines, trainlines, and cruise lines.”
It’s available around the world…and new customers are added regularly.
The products are available using Tube’s own brands or the brands of partners in The Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Portugal, United Kingdom, Denmark, United States, Chile, and Argentina. Starting at the end of this year new Asia Pacific markets include in Vietnam, Hong Kong, South Korea, and Australia.
The company is working with several companies, including winery Chateau de Pommard and retailer Ahold Delhaize show above, which used rPET tubes. The company recently started bottling similar tasting kits for Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate.
Bottling will soon expand production to a second country.
“For the moment we only bottle in The Netherlands,” says Ritzen, “but our second facility opens in the coming months in Bordeaux, France. Our main goal is to open a bottling facility in each continent on short term, but due to Covid the openings in North America, South America, and Asia Pacific are delayed until 2021.”
For more information, visit TUBES