How Diageo is Defying Logic with Paper Baileys Bottles

The first Baileys paper battle
CSO Ewan Andrew admits it is ‘progress over perfection’ as Guinness maker Diageo trials sustainable paper bottles to hold the Irish Cream Liqueur Baileys

Guinness-maker Diageo is going for sustainability “progress over perfection” as it experiments with its first batch of paper bottles of Baileys.

The beverages company, which also produces Johnnie Walker Scotch Whisky and Don Julio Tequila, has joined with PA Consulting and PulPac to trial a dry moulded fibre bottle which is 90% paper, with a thin plastic liner and a foil seal.

Diageo said: “It can be recycled in standard paper streams and does not require the consumer to separate the plastic liner from the paper bottle when disposing.”

Baileys in a paper bottle

The initial try-out

The first 2,000-bottle trial with consumers was with mini-format (80ml) Baileys bottles at Time Out Festival in Barcelona, Spain, on 25-26 May.

It was designed to test how the bottles travelled from the filling site in Ireland, to Barcelona.

Diageo added that it tested “how consumers interact with the material and how they understand the sustainability credentials of the paper bottle”.

Ewan Andrew, President, Global Supply Chain & Procurement and CSO, Diageo

Bottling potential

Jamie Stone, Design and Innovation Expert at PA, said: “We are delighted that the Diageo Baileys Minis are now hitting the consumer market.

Dry moulded fibre bottles are a huge step forward, setting new standards in the world of more sustainable packaging. But this is only the beginning.”

He added: “PulPac’s dry moulded fibre technology has immense potential: not only is it water-saving, energy-efficient and recyclable, but it is also viable at commercial manufacturing speeds and scale.”

Jamie said collaboration with Diageo and other organisations has “enabled us to pool resources and dramatically accelerate the time to market for this important innovation”.

Ewan Andrew, President, Global Supply Chain & Procurement and CSO, Diageo, said: “When it comes to our packaging, we’re taking an approach of progress over perfection, knowing our packaging will need to evolve along with consumer needs and technological advancements.

“The consumer is becoming more sustainability savvy and we believe we can meet that need using our design and innovation to bring premium products and more sustainable solutions together.”

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The ‘say-do' gap

Diageo said, when it comes to beverages, 68% of consumers want to buy more sustainably but only 12% do due to barriers including expense, lack of availability and confusion about what is on offer.

It said: “Diageo is working to close this ‘say-do’ gap for consumers by developing more sustainable and desirable products through innovation and marketing propositions to help consumers understand the sustainability credentials of the products, including the materials used.”

It has rolled out frameworks across the organisation, including an environmental CLAIMS checklist, based on the CMA guidelines, and LCA assessment tools, ensuring that science, substantiation and creativity are used to communicate clearly to consumers.

Diageo is also exploring paper formats across its wider portfolio, including developing and internally testing its concept Johnnie Walker paper-based bottle, which is still in development phase.

Alongside this, it is developing a Diageo-designed, spiral-wound paper-based bottle with Don Papa, the Filipino rum brand.

The bottle is in feasibility testing and is expected to be 90% paper-based. It is designed to remove the cardboard gift box around the bottle to give the illusion of a gift box which is in fact the whole bottle.


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