Absolut launches first-ever commercially available paper bottles

Absolut Vodka is to become the first global spirits brand to sell single-mould paper-based bottles commercially in the UK as part of its journey to create a fully bio-based bottle.

Absolut Vodka is embarking on a three-month test for its single-mould paper bottle – sold in British supermarket chain, Tesco – a significant milestone on its journey to create a 100 per cent bio-based bottle and reduce its CO2 emissions.

The paper bottle initiative is part of a wider collaboration with Paboco (the Paper Bottle Company) and their community of global brands, The Coca-Cola Company, Carlsberg, P&G and L’Oréal – to work collectively to help the drinks and packaging industries push the boundaries for sustainable packaging.

This is the first time such paper-based bottles will have been sold commercially in-store by a global spirits company and follow some previous tests by Absolut at festivals in the UK and Sweden. It also represents an important milestone for Absolut in becoming a carbon neutral product by 2030 – a prerequisite for being able to meet this goal is in reducing the carbon footprint of its packaging.

The trial aims to gain insights from consumers, retailers and supply chain partners to inform the next steps on Absolut’s innovation journey towards a commercially viable, fully bio-based bottle. Absolut will test how the paper-based bottle transports and how consumers perceive it. Unlike the initial pilots which were for Absolut Mixt ready-to-drink, which had low ABVs (5%), this bottle will be tested using the higher 40% ABV of Absolut Vodka.

The 500ml-sized single-mould paper bottles will be sold in 22 Tesco stores (RRP £16) across Greater Manchester throughout the summer. These first-generation single-mould bottles are made from 57% paper with an integrated barrier of recyclable plastic. Manchester’s recycling facilities and its high recycling rates make it the perfect location for the test launch. Customers can simply recycle the packaging as paper through normal household waste.

While standard glass bottles are also recyclable, paper bottles are eight times lighter and easier to carry. The innovative paper bottles retain the brand’s apothecary-inspired design, and the end goal is for them to complement Absolut’s iconic glass bottle, not replace it. Absolut believes consumers will use the paper bottles in out-of-home occasions such as festivals.

Elin Furelid, Director of Future Packaging at Absolut, said: “This is a step closer towards our vision of a fully bio-based bottle. We are exploring packaging that has a completely different value proposition. Paper is tactile; it’s beautiful; it’s authentic; it’s light. That was our starting point. But this is not just an idea on paper.

“We want consumers and partners to join our journey towards a more sustainable future. Together we can develop packaging solutions that people want and the world needs. That’s why bold partnerships with like-minded organisations to test the waters are going to be evermore crucial on our net zero journey.”

Charl Bassil, Global VP Absolut, said: “Absolut Vodka has a rich heritage of collaborations and partnerships, and the brand is working towards developing packaging solutions that consumers want and our planet needs. Absolut remains committed to a sustainable future in which it continues to mix things up, with recyclable lighter paper-based bottles to complement Absolut’s iconic glass bottles.  This ground-breaking test takes Absolut a step closer to that becoming a reality.

Absolut Vodka is on track to be a carbon-neutral product by 2030, with its distillery emitting 98 per cent fewer emissions than the average distillery.* In November last year, it announced its ground-breaking initiative with Ardagh Glass Packaging to start using a partly hydrogen energy-fired glass furnace for large-scale bottle production. 

For more information, assets or interview requests, please contact: theabsolutcompany@mcsaatchi.com 

Notes to editors: 

* According to Beverage Industries Environmental Roundtable (BIER) benchmarking study based on data from 2020.

About The Absolut Company

The Absolut Company has the worldwide responsibility for the production, packaging innovation and strategic marketing of Absolut Vodka, Malibu and Kahlúa.

Malibu is the number one rum-based coconut spirit in the world.

Absolut Vodka is one of the world’s top ten international spirits brands. Every bottle of Absolut Vodka comes from one source, Åhus in southern Sweden.

Kahlúa coffee liqueur is the world leader in its category.

The Absolut Company portfolio also includes Åhus Akvavit. The visitor center, Absolut Home, located next to the main production site for Absolut Vodka, was opened in 2018. The head office is located in Stockholm, Sweden. Chairman and CEO is Stéphanie Durroux. The Absolut Company is a part of Pernod Ricard, the world’s second largest wine and spirits producer (source: IWSR).

About Pernod Ricard

Pernod Ricard is the No.2 worldwide producer of wines and spirits with consolidated sales of €10,701 million in FY22. Created in 1975 by the merger of Ricard and Pernod, the Group has developed through organic growth and acquisitions: Seagram (2001), Allied Domecq (2005) and Vin&Sprit (2008). Pernod Ricard, which owns 16 of the Top 100 Spirits Brands, holds one of the most prestigious and comprehensive brand portfolios in the industry, including: Absolut Vodka, Ricard pastis, Ballantine’s, Chivas Regal, Royal Salute, and The Glenlivet Scotch whiskies, Jameson Irish whiskey, Martell cognac, Havana Club rum, Beefeater gin, Malibu liqueur, Mumm and Perrier-Jouët champagnes, as well Jacob’s Creek, Brancott Estate, Campo Viejo, and Kenwood wines. Pernod Ricard’s brands are distributed across 160+ markets and by its own salesforce in 73 markets. The Group’s decentralised organisation empowers its 19,000 employees to be true on-the-ground ambassadors of its vision of “Créateurs de Convivialité.” As reaffirmed by the Group’s strategic plan, “Transform and Accelerate,” deployed in 2018, Pernod Ricard’s strategy focuses on investing in long-term, profitable growth for all stakeholders. The Group remains true to its three founding values: entrepreneurial spirit, mutual trust, and a strong sense of ethics, as illustrated by the 2030 Sustainability and Responsibility roadmap supporting the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), “Good times from a good place.” In recognition of Pernod Ricard’s strong commitment to sustainable development and responsible consumption, it has received a Gold rating from Ecovadis. Pernod Ricard is also a United Nation’s Global Compact LEAD company. Pernod Ricard is listed on Euronext (Ticker: RI; ISIN Code: FR0000120693) and is part of the CAC 40 and Eurostoxx 50 indices.