Manchester Gin

Evaluation of Multilaminate Pouches and Plastic Bottles as Gin Packaging

Manchester Gin opened a brand new distillery, bar and restaurant in Watson Street, Manchester in 2019. Occupying six railway arches, it’s a state-of-the-art distillery where customers can see the gin being made. Manchester Gin has been internationally recognised by the most prestigious spirits competitions around the world, and the brand uses local suppliers, have created jobs for local people, and host apprenticeships across all business areas.

Aware of Manchester Gin’s commitment to becoming carbon neutral, the SMI Hub reached out to the brand to offer support on the Assess strand. Manchester Gin were interested in exploring options to best reduce their overall emissions. In initial discussions, the Hub discussed investigating alternative packaging options for a 500ml glass bottle, given that they are very heavy and require additional packaging to prevent breakages during transport, which could be applicable to both B2C and B2B sales. 

 The SMI Hub completed an extensive experimental study to assess the suitability of alternative primary packaging to glass bottles for high ABV products. Two alternative packaging options were investigated – the Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET) bottle and the multilaminate pouch (MLP), and their suitability for high ABV liquids. The experiments tested the effect of high ABV liquids on the mechanical properties and leaching of the alternative packaging.

An assessment of the carbon emissions and discussion of sustainability considerations for glass bottles, PET bottles and MLPs was also completed. The report found that carbon emissions associated with the combined material, processing and end-of-life stages of various 500 mL packaging options revealed that 70% recycled polyethylene terephthalate bottles release 86% less CO2 than Manchester Gin’s glass bottle, while a multilaminate pouch releases 92% less. The report also investigated the recyclability and sustainability of AirPak, the secondary inflatable plastic packaging used for Manchester Gin’s B2C sales.

Finally, the SMI Hub designed several experiments to assess the flavour profiles of the signature gin, to ascertain whether alternative packaging options would affect its taste, which was then assessed in house.

The process from start to finish was been fantastically well run. Essentially we went in with questions on how to improve our sustainability and have come out with concrete answers. It also gave us a huge understanding on the effect on flavour with the various different types and sizes of pouches. This will have a direct implication on the type and application we will use them for.”

Sebastian Heeley, Drinks of Manchester

Next steps

Using the comprehensive report, Manchester Gin are further pursuing the use of multilaminate pouches for B2B customers.

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