Multilayer barrier pouches are entering food and beverage markets that were never before penetrated. Spirits are the latest application, specifically ShotPak, a 50 ml flask-shaped pouch filled with ready-to-drink cocktails that can go where glass containers can't. Beverage Pouch Group (BPG) LLC, Sarasota, FL, markets the pouches in boxed multipacks of six and 12 pouches, and the product is racking up sales with distributors in nearly a dozen states.
“There's lots of activity around our new pouch package. Busy, on-the-go consumers are always asking for something new, and our natural ready-to-drink pouches stand out on the store shelves,” says R. Charles Murray, Beverage Pouch Group CEO. “Until now we have not really ventured outside of Florida on the East Coast, but we have seen a lot of national interest, which has been great.”
The three brand categories include: ShotPak ready-to-drink cocktails; Shotpak and California Blue Premiums; and STR8UP spirits. Mixed-drink flavors include everything from popular favorites such as mojitos, cosmopolitans, martinis and pina coladas to kamikazes, lemon drops and sour apple flavors, with color-coordinated graphics.
BPG also markets wine, water and beer in multilayer pouches under the VinoPaq, BevPaq, and BeerPaq brands.
No muss, less fuss
Feet firmly planted in the 20-something, bar-hopping, outdoorsy demographic, Murray points out the benefits of the ShotPak for both servers and consumers. They are attractive, pre-measured, and easy for hotels and casinos to serve without mixing, pouring or dealing with glass containers. Pouches are easy to chill or freeze, can be taken to venues where glass and metal may be prohibited, and because they feature an 8 mm orifice after opening, can't be easily spiked or adulterated.
The easy-tear pouch is a patented laminated structure containing LLDPE, nylon, foil and a proprietary layer. Shelf-stable for a full 18 months, the structure guards against leaching of the alcohol in the mixed cocktail and after extensive organoleptic testing by BPG, no flavor changes were noted.
Gravure printing is done by strategic partner HQ in Shantou, China, with all material inspection and testing performed under the control of affiliate PCG Global in China. An interrelated group of companies under the banner of PPI Technologies Group also makes the pouchmaking and pouchfilling machinery used. Filling is done at Imperial Brands distillery, Palm Beach Gardens, FL, in a dedicated ShotPak filling room.
Murray also touts the “Zero Landfill” environmental advantages of the package. There's a source-reduction story to tell, as the pouch takes up far less space than a bottle, weighs 20 times less than a bottle with comparable volume, uses far less energy to make, and has a lower CO2 footprint than a bottle. In states that have garbage incineration in place, such as BPG's home state of Florida, plasma arcing can vaporize the plastic components of the pouch, generating electricity, while collecting the metal left behind. This slag can be used for road construction projects.
“We have to get beyond the reliance on glass in the alcoholic beverages category,” says Murray. “Most glass for the U.S. market is now made in Mexico, and it is so expensive and cumbersome to ship recycled glass there that Mexican glass plants are using very little recycled product.”
A recent conversation with the newly licensed Illinois distributor for the product gives an insight into the state-by-state marketing scheme for this product and its packaging benefits.
“We believe this is a quality product with a unique package and good environmental aspects,” says Michael Dehn, executive v.p. of sales and marketing for Direct Distribution LLC, Lombard, IL. His company will distribute all of BPG's pouched brands and was ready to place its initial order at presstime. “There are four or five major market segments this product is perfect for. They are what we call points of destination: sports stadiums, golf courses, festivals such as Chicago's Taste of Chicago, 5 and 10K races, and the banquet/catering market,” says Dehn.
“In all of these places, it's cumbersome and inconvenient to set up a bar and have a bartender,” he says. “These pouches are easier for the venue to monitor, there's no cleanup involved, and it's an environmentally responsible package. That's especially important for events where a municipality is responsible for cleanup, such as music festivals.”
Dehn is excited about the market potential at fitness events such as 5- and 10K races, where mountains of plastic bottles can pile up after the race is over.
While the distributor network actually buys the product and sets the prices depending on the market, Murray does confirm that growth of the pouches has been 30 percent or more each year since launch, and that this year BPG will celebrate production of its 5 millionth pouch. With more distributor agreements, the party seems certain to continue.
|More information is available:|
|Beverage Pouch Group LLC, 941/359-6678, www.beveragepouchgroup.com|
|Hongqiao Packaging Industrial Co., Ltd., +86 754-82533003. www.hqpack.com|
|PPI Technologies Group, 941/359-6678. www.ppitechnologies.com|
|Imperial Brands, 561/624-5662. www.ibrandsinc.com|
|Direct Distribution LLC, 312/520-0204.|