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New bottle benefits brewery and environment

The world’s best ale now has a world-class lightweighted bottle thanks to glass packaging specialist Rawlings and glass manufacturer Beatson Clark.

Robinsons Brewery has been brewing beer in Stockport, Cheshire since 1838. It is one of the UK’s largest independent family brewers, with 330 pubs across the North West and Wales. Robinsons Old Tom has twice been named as the World’s Best Ale at the World Beer Awards, and Robinsons Brewery tasked Rawlings to deliver a lightweight version of its classic glass bottle. Originally designed by Beatson Clark in 2005, the bottle has been manufactured at its Rotherham facility ever since.

Rawlings, in partnership with glass manufacturer Beatson Clark, has supplied a lighter-weight bottle that is not only more environmentally responsible but also allows the brewery to make savings on raw materials and transport costs.

The new amber bottle weighs 250g rather than the original 282g and features improved embossing of the Robinsons name and Old Tom brand on the glass.

“The benefits of lightweighting, in terms of cost reduction and environmental impact, are significant. With every new project Rawlings undertakes we aim to include an element of lightweighting,” says Tom Wood, MD at Rawlings.

Lynn Sidebottom, sales and marketing director at Beatson Clark, adds: “The bottle shape and embossing design are the same as before, so consumers will continue to recognise the distinctive Old Tom bottle. However, we have used our new design software to sculpt the embossing, making it more defined as well as easier to manufacture.

“Reducing the weight of a container does not affect quality, but the benefits for the customer and for the environment are considerable.”

Graeme Hall, operations and packaging manager for Robinsons Brewery, comments: “Old Tom is synonymous with Robinsons Brewery and so designing a new bottle that retains its iconic look whilst being environmentally aware was a good challenge.

“Working in partnership with Beatson Clark and Rawlings, and using the latest computer software to aid the design, the new lightweight bottle has managed to retain Old Tom’s charm while ensuring that we can continue with our focus on becoming a more environmentally conscious company.”

Named after the Robinsons Brewery cat, Old Tom is almost as old as the brewery itself. The legend began in 1899 when Tom the cat basked in the sunshine while the head brewer sketched him into immortality.

This superior dark ale is recognised both nationally and internationally as one of the most famous strong ales, winning some of the industry’s most prestigious awards including CAMRA Supreme Champion Winter Beer of Britain no fewer than three times.

Old Tom is available in selective Morrisons, Booths, Waitrose, Bookers and Parfetts across the northwest, as well as Asda, Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Nisa across the UK.

Established in 1850 and based in Bristol, Rawlings is a leading independent glass packaging specialist with the reputation for sustainable quality. Rawlings designs, sources and supplies glass packaging suitable for all types of food and beverage, developing the best product packaging for a brand.

Beatson Clark specialises in providing glass packaging solutions for niche brands in the food, drink and pharmaceutical markets worldwide. 



14 July 2014 - Felicity Murray The Drinks Report, editor