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A Switcheroo to Watch ~ Almaden and Inglenook going from bottles to only boxes

Almaden and Inglenook wines are about to switch from the familiar three and four-liter glass jugs to only being marketed in lightweight Bag-in-Box (BIB) packaging.

The Wine Group has decided to swap the glass jugs for BIB packaging, because it will reduce the brands’ carbon footprints by 60 percent, and avoid some 11 million pounds of packaging waste.

That’s pretty substantial, and a very brave move. I can only think this, because I’m putting myself into the head-set of the consumers who only purchase these wines in glass. These are people who have – no doubt – been purchasing it this way for years. Imagine their reaction when they head for the store’s shelf to purchase their favorite bottle of wine, and instead there’s only a box available on the shelf.

The Wine Group is the world’s most cost and carbon efficient vintner for its use of BIB packaging. This bag-in-box packaging has less than half the carbon footprint of bottled wine, in terms of energy needed for glass production and transportation once the wine’s put into its container. This is totally to their credit for environmental foresight and innovative packaging.

I love this packaging, incidentally, and keep a box of Fisheye on the left hand side of my refrigerator, while the filtered water jug sits on the right. I bought into the concept as soon as this kind of package was introduced.

“The positive impact to the environment from making the shift to BIB packages will be huge, simply because the volume of these two brands combined account for 10 million cases of production,” David Kent, The Wine Group’s CEO, said in a statement.

The company, which recently launched a marketing campaign extolling the environmental benefits of BIB packaging, said switching all bottled wine sold in the United States to BIB packaging would save about 941 million tons of glass packaging annually.

The Wine Group already produces the boxed wine Franzia, as well as other brands such as Concannon, Glen Ellen, and Big House. It bought Almaden and Inglenook from Constellation Wines in February, and is now the second largest wine producer by volume.

I believe that this will ultimately be a very successful switcheroo as they come up with creative ways to make faithful consumers of these wines become really jazzed to “Give a Hoot, Don’t Pollute.” (Boy, would someone please bring that one back, huh?)

This is going to be a great experiment to watch within the packaging industry; educating the masses to a new way of thinking in order to change a fixed habit.

I’m sure this has all been very well thought out by The Wine Group, and is going to be a fascinating story to follow as it all unfolds, watching the graphs and the charts as this paradigm shift is created.

It’s going to be quite challenging at best, and very informative to say the least.

This is one story that I’ll love following, because it’s a fascinating environmental study within the wine business. If The Wine Group’s innovative move is successful (and I believe that it will be), the real questions for me as the next story lines are:

  • How long is it going to take to turn this way of thinking around?
  • What’s the messaging going to be?

Because… this case study can then translate well into other “green” persuasive messages in all other industries, and prove to ultimately be excellent messaging for our planet.

2 Responses to “A Switcheroo to Watch ~ Almaden and Inglenook going from bottles to only boxes”

  1. Jeff says:

    Just think of all those bag in box filling up landfills while glass bottles can go straight to the furnace for easy recycling. Hmmmm

  2. admin says:

    I’ve also been told, by my wine company relationships, that glass – in its reincarnated form – isn’t strong enough to become a wine bottle again, so it’s not as simple as it seems on the surface. I don’t know where the second generation goes, but it’s not back into wine bottle use… So, we’re back where we started with lots of wine bottles that won’t ever be used again. The space of the bottles or the space of the plastic. Honestly, I wish I could just keep a barrel full of wine in an air-conditioned garage.