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Bottlecan boosts sales for Mexican beer brand

Tecate, one of Mexico’s most popular beers, and a leading Mexican export for more than 60 years, has enhanced its image and dramatically increased demand by offering its cerveza in aluminum bottles as well as glass.

Often consumed with lime and salt, Tecate was first brewed by Alberto Aldrete in 1944 when he took over an old brick building just south of the border from California. Aldrete named his new brew after the town and it quickly became popular throughout Baja, California for its full rich flavor. In 1954 the brewery was sold to Cerveceria Cuauhtemoc Moctezuma, but it is still produced in the Tecate Brewery.

Although far from being the first Latin American beverage to utilise aluminum in its bottling, the introduction of Tecate in a bottlecan is considered a breakthrough for aluminum packaging south of the border according to a spokesperson for the bottlecan producer, CCL Container, a company that has pioneered aluminum bottling for the beer industry.

In 2006, the pride of the Dominican Republic, Presidente beer, partnered with CCL to put its premium product in an aluminum bottle that features glow-in-the-dark graphics.

Mexico got its first look at a re-sealable aluminum container back in 2005, with the introduction of HOT Hangover Tea, made with herb extracts and amino acids, and distributed in a CCL aluminum bottle.

In 2000, the Japanese first introduced the aluminum bottle, but demand did not reach explosive proportions until CCL Container made a major investment in the technology necessary to make production practical. 

Shortly afterward, CCL won a Worldstar Packaging Award for its Aluminum Crown Finish Beer Bottle designed for the Pittsburgh Brewing Company in 2002. CCL put the brewer’s flagship lager, Iron City, into its aluminum bottle, making Iron City Lager the world’s first beer to convert from glass to aluminum. That conversion also put CCL at the forefront of the movement by brewers to utilise impact-extruded aluminum in lieu of glass bottles.

Since then, a growing number of marketers – from global brands to niche players – have adopted and successfully used aluminum bottling, and for good reason. Aluminum is lightweight, unbreakable and meets the demands of our green-conscious society in that it is 100% recyclable.

The insulating properties of aluminum bottlers are also superior to glass and plastic, so beverages in aluminum cool faster and stay cold longer. CCL also offer the option of proprietary, food-grade, and internal and external linings to protect product taste and purity.

Beyond functionality, the aesthetic advantages of aluminum bottles also factor in heavily. Aluminum packaging offers the ability to carry high impact graphics not possible on glass. The bottles are available in a choice of industry standard, re-sealable closure systems: Crown, CT-38, and CT-28. Also top-to-bottom shaping can add a new dimension to container aesthetics and ergonomics. New curves and contours complement the high-impact graphics now possible by advanced inline printing systems.

1 September 2009 - Felicity Murray