An Alternative to Cans? Olde Meck Thinks PET

The Olde Mecklenburg Brewery believes in the Reinheitsgebot, and to John Marrino, the Charlotte brewery would be breaking that tradition if they ever went into cans.

Because of the epoxy-coating of BPA in cans, Marrino said it would be a violation of their commitment to the centuries-old rule and instead looked for another way to bring the brewery’s craft beer to places it had not been able to go before, like golf courses, ballparks and concert venues.

OMB decided instead to bottle in PET bottles, which is 100-percent BPA-free.

“We simply don’t want to use a package that we know will introduce a contaminant into the beer. It’s a matter of principle” said Marrino, the brewery’s founder. “We have been searching for years to find a suitable alternative package that maintains our purity pledge while simultaneously servicing those venues that cannot accommodate glass.

“When we heard Michigan-based Plastipak wanted to launch their beer business in the States, we jumped at the opportunity to be their first craft beer customer.”

OMB will continue to use glass bottles as its primary package solution for most settings — including retail and restaurant — but will offer PET to venues that cannot use glass due to breakage concerns; and, therefore, have not been able to offer OMB to their customers.

The brewery customized their bottling line to handle both the new PET bottles and its current glass bottles.

“We coordinated and planned this rollout with Plastipak over the past year,” said Bill McCann, OMB’s Operations Manager. “To see all that work come to fruition – and to be the first craft brewery to truly champion PET and this barrier technology – is something we’re really proud of.”

OMB’s Director of Brewing Operations, Dave Martin noted that they have put the bottles through extensive testing to ensure they uphold the same quality standards as the brewery’s glass bottles.

In addition to keeping the beer pure according to the Reinheitsgebot, the bottles are recyclable and have several other advantages for craft breweries and consumers alike.

In terms of appearance, PET bottles look exactly like industry standard glass long neck bottles, including secondary features such as labels and traditional steel crown closures, instead of twist-off plastic caps.

Additionally, due to a lower heat transfer rate than glass and aluminum, beer packaged in PET bottles stays colder longer once taken out of the cooler, fridge or ice bin.

“In this way, the plastic serves as a koozie by keeping the beer colder, and consumers’ hands more comfortable,” the brewery said in a release.

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