Australia's Hardy Wine Co. hopes its new Shuttle, a single-serve acrylic wine bottle kept securely sealed by its own upturned acrylic wine glass, will soar off the launching pad. The package is made tamper-evident until it's opened with a twist-top device. This releases the glass into which the wine is poured. Hardy believes the packaging technique, the specifics for which remain undisclosed, is a world first and is aimed at getting drinks out fast at crowded events that require quick service. Global marketing manager Miriam Leenders says Hardy had used the current Australian tour of the circus group Cirque de Soleil to test the 187-mL combo.
It looks simple and not particularly glamorous, but the Shuttle could revolutionize the way we drink wine, according to Hardy. Leenders says the break-resistant package is technically complex to execute, however. The challenges include ensuring that the closure is tight to prevent leaks and oxidation of the wine, she says, and getting the cup to twist off, as well as developing a new production line to put the cup on the bottle. Other challenges include finding an additive to put in the plastic to give the bottle a shelf life of 12 months or almost double that of existing, small polyethylene terephthalate bottles, she says.
Hardy launched the Shuttle for Shiraz and Chardonnay in a few retail stores in eastern Australia at $4.95 each and says it had intended to expand the rollout gradually for other varieties and brands, which include WA's Houghtonwinery. But the Varekai(TM) Cirque du Soleil test proved so popular with showgoers, that the company reportedly decided to launch the bottle nationally in Australia.
Leenders adds that Shuttles are easy to store. "We are confident that the Shuttle technology will soon be applied to other world-renowned brands in the extensive Hardy Wine Company portfolio," she says. Hardy says that it's also shipping a small test-market consignment of wine in 250-mL-sized Shuttles under the Hardys Stamp of Australia label to the U.K.