Experiments and research for developing PET bottles for beer packaging to replace glass, being conducted for a long time now, have finally paid dividends. China, with large number of beer drinkers, has finally replaced glass bottles with a new PET packaging. Atleast 30% of the Chinese beer packing requirements will now be met with the new PET bottles. Offtake of beer packaging in PET bottles was slow initially, but has currently established well, not only in China, but also in South Korea and other Asian countries. Several barrier technologies have been tried and used, but the multi wall system containing the barrier material in the middle layer seems to be winning.
What really changed this trend in China?
Apparently the perceived advantage of flexibility of PET as compared to glass, has been an important factor. The Chinese beer drinkers like to perform the “Volcano” - in which they first shake the beer bottle and then open it. After the bottle is opened, it is squeezed from the middle of the sidewalls, due to which the beer erupts from the bottle, thereby resembling a volcano. This cannot be done with a glass bottle.
Wider acceptance of PET containers for beer is also due to the relatively shorter shelf life required in China. Apparently the flavour of the beer as well the carbonation level in PET bottles is quite comparable to that of glass bottles, keeping in view the shorter duration of shelf life.
It is for sure that this shift will augur well for demand of PET bottle, which had reached near maturity levels.