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FLEXIBLE PACKAGING 2014: FREEDONIA NOTES CRAFT BEER POUCH INTEREST

Analyst warns pouches face fight to grab US beer throat share

By Ben Bouckley+

06-Mar-2014
Last updated on 10-Mar-2014 at 16:13 GMT

Analyst warns pouches face fight to grab US beer throat share

Stand-up pouches face a fight to wrest beer market share from traditional formats like bottles and cans that are ‘ingrained in the consumer’s mind’ but could carve out their own niche.

That’s according to Joe Pryweller, senior industry analyst for packaging at The Freedonia Group, who tells BeverageDaily.com that glass and metal cans offer many benefits.

These include a chilled exterior, ease of gripping and handling, simplicity of use in multipacks and secondary cartons, he says, while glass in particular is perceived as premium, while cans are well suited to parties or get togethers.

While the pouch is making inroads in the wine category – and some California vineyards filling high quality wines are helping it shake off its reputation as a low-end option – Pryweller said beer was not in the same place, although he believes it could carve out its own niche.

BeerPouch touts unbreakability benefit

Exploring stand-up pouch success stories in the US beer space, Pryweller pointed to the BeerPouch – a 64oz (1.8 liter) aseptic pouch (pictured above) from its eponymous Alaskan manufacturer, which is designed to replace the glass growler.

“The company continues to build its distribution network and is slowly rolling-out across the country, touting the benefits of unbreakability, ease of carrying (in a cooler or backpack) and low cost,” Pryweller said.

(BeerPouch claims its product uses far less energy to fill, ship and store than virtually any comparable package.)

“One small brewery in California, Altamont Beer Works, has adopted it for growlers and could fuel further growth in this category,” he added.

‘Unique’ CarboPouch gains craft following

Another variant, the CarboPouch from PPI Technologies, is a three-sided, spouted pouch on the market since 2009 that is just starting to gain a following due to the rise of craft breweries.

“This standup pouch can be filled onsite at events and offers a slim, easy-to-handle structure. The film stretches after filling and carbonation to provide a soft but easy grip structure,” Pryweller said.

“It is quite unique and, from what I hear from PPI, is gaining interest among craft brewers,” he added.

Can the pouch go premium?

Finally, Arizona-based AstraPouch has just released its AstraPaq pouch (pictured) Pryweller explains, which is mainly used for wine and spirits at the moment.

It features a handled top, a dispensing nozzle that prevents oxygen ingress and film layers to keep the product cool.

“The makers of this product envision this as a possibility for beer as well as other spirits, offering a sleek, premium looking alternative,” Pryweller said.

“Its ability to keep the beverage cool and its long shelf life are advantages that could benefit the new company,” he added.