Packaging that emphasizes sustainability, convenience and shelf appeal raise the bar.

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As the country recovers from recession, alcoholic beverage sales are on the rise. The Beverage Information Group’s Handbook Advance 2012 notes that spirits and wine sales persisted in taking share away from the beer category in 2011. So what is it that wine and spirits producers are doing that’s stirring up success?

Some wine companies are adapting their packaging to conform to consumer interest in sustainability, such as Frei Brothers Reserve, whose array of eco-upgrades for 2012 includes bottles that use less glass, corks that use more of the tree, and labels that create less waste. In terms of bottles, Frei Brothers is reducing the overall weight of its bottle by 15%, saving over a half-million pounds of glass each year. For labels, post-consumer paper stock and aluminum capsules are now being used, increasing their recyclability and thus reducing consumer waste. In addition, Frei Brothers Reserve will begin using more sustainable corks that utilize the entire cork tree (like the cork material used in Champagne bottles) rather than traditional wine corks that use only part of the tree’s bark.