It’s all in the look
Food and Beverage Packaging chats with Ben Steele, Executive Creative Director at design agency Hornall Anderson, about making a beer package stand out. 
FBP: What are the top structural 
trends with packaging beer? 
Steele: Within mass domestics, we’ve seen a dynamic change—from thermo chromic inks to custom forms. Within the craft market, the focus is more on storytelling and creating a cohesive brand experience that extends to the package structure. The biggest recent trend in craft has been the move into cans—serving as an unbroken design canvas with an opportunity to create a consistent story without the interruption of bottle structure.  
FBP: What are the current 
challenges for beer package designers? 
Steele: The challenges are the same for beer designers as they are for all brands. How does this brand speak to me? What does it say about me? What is true about the brand that’s also true about the consumer, and how do brand designers convey that in the few seconds it takes to travel down the aisle? Now is the opportunity for designers to catch up to the artistry being offered in the bottle or can. We need to be innovating in the same way the brewers are—to be telling stories in new ways, finding ways to break through to consumers and connect with them. The challenge is on us to do right by the breweries with which we work.
As this issue of Food & Beverage Packaging counts down the top 50 beverage packagers, it only seems right to toast the beverage innovators of the beer and wine markets for their innovations. In a category where brands small and large push for new and better methods, a varied array of trends and opportunities have come to the alcohol packaging industry. 

Thinking inside the box

Several beverage packagers have been “thinking outside the box” by using that very box to their advantage. Miller Brands UK partnered with CRP Print & Packaging ( to develop the cooler box. The 18-pack beer box features a one-piece design. The box, which is water resistant, expands to double as an ice bucket. This allows consumers to open the box, add ice and serve their beer directly from the package. The box is also recyclable making it convenient for both consumers and the environment. 
“The development of this innovative pack which uses specialized water resistant papers, required an extended product development phase including technical and design expertise. The inside of the pack has a laminated waterproof barrier and is externally litho printed with an aqueous varnish. One of the key challenges to overcome in designing this pack was to ensure the pack could be 100% recyclable. The consumer interaction is intuitive with the case opening to reveal a void around the product for filling with ice,” says CRP sales manager, Matthew Watts 
Craft brewery, World Top Brewery, gave their gift packaging a golden touch with the help of Color-Logic’s ( Process Metallic Color System. This system allowed World Top Brewery to achieve metallic special effects on their package at a low cost. The bold look appealed to retailers and consumers. According to brewery co-owner Gill Mellor, “The package designed by Color-Logic increased our gift sales by one-third in the 2012 Christmas season, and elicited favorable comments from retailers and customers alike.  Just looking at the pack, everyone assumes we have a gold foil box.”  

Thinking outside the bottle

Samuel Adams recently announced its plans to offer Samuel Adams Boston Lager in a can. The company, which has never released a canned beer before, avoided using a typical can. Instead, they sought out a redesigned can that offers the drinking experience of a glass bottle. The “Sam Can,” as the brewers call it, underwent two years of sensory research. Read more about the Sam Can on page 28. Samuel Adams is just one of many breweries explored can options. Founders Brewing Co. is offering its seasonal “All Day IPA” for the first time in cans from Ball Corporation (
“Founders Brewing Co.’s decision to offer its craft beer in Ball cans is a strong endorsement of the can as a sustainable, consumer-friendly package that can accompany craft beer consumers anywhere they go,” says Robert M. Miles, senior vice president, sales for Ball’s metal beverage packaging division, Americas.
“By moving to Ball’s aluminum cans, craft brewers are finding new ways to differentiate their brands. The result is an engaging package that is impenetrable to light and oxygen.”
While beer in a can is a new trend for craft brewers, cans are common in the broader beer market. Wild Pelican recently brought the can to the wine market by offering a white wine and a red wine in special wine cans in the UK. The 20cl (content 187ml) slim format aluminum cans feature a matte finish and are made by Ball Packaging Europe (
Wild Pelican chose Ball’s wine cans to protect the premium taste of its wines. In a can, neither light nor oxygen nor cork can compromise the quality of wine. Wild Pelican hopes the cans will fit the active lifestyle of modern young consumers who are not traditional wine drinkers but are interested in new high-quality products. Wild Pelican also wants to serve the growing number of one-person households with a single serve packaging choice.
Pouches have long been part of the ready-made cocktail market, and they are seeking to expand to other areas of alcohol packaging. Smurfit Kappa (, makers of the Bag-in-Box and Pouch-Up packages has recently showcased these products at several wine-industry events including the Vinitaly Exhibition 2013 as partner of Vino Libero and Intervitis-Interfructa. 
Smurfit Bag-in-Box system is designed to extend the shelf-life of liquid, maintaining their quality even after opening. This innovative packaging is ideal for on-the-go consumption, making it possible to withdraw small quantities at a time, and is particularly suitable for wine packaging. It is also a sustainable packaging solution, with a much lower carbon footprint than other forms of packaging.
Pouch-Up, the new and modern flexible packaging solution, is now available in single and double gusset and a range of sizes from 1 to 3L. These pouches are suited to cocktails, wine and juices.