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Snap Packs are the way forward

For once a story about big beer where I’m not complaining.

Carlsberg has developed a new way of packaging its beers. Their Snap Pack multipacks don’t use the old plastic rings. They don’t use any cardboard either. In fact, they hardly use any packaging at all. Instead the cans are held together with strategically placed blobs of glue, plus one small plastic strap that acts as a handle. It’s such an obviously good idea that it’s hard to believe no one had thought of it before.

I got my hands on a Snap Pack six-pack of Carlsberg’s Danish Pilsner recently. When they’re all together the cans feel secure and firmly attached to one another. I carried mine home across South London without a second thought; I had no worries at all about it breaking apart unexpectedly. But when the time did come to pry one off from the rest it was pretty easy. In fact I found it easier to deal with than the plastic six-pack holders currently favoured by most craft breweries. You don’t need to worry about picking the glue off the can either. Carlsberg say it will burn off during the recycling process without causing any problems.

It took three years to develop the award-winning Snap Pack, during which time Carlsberg tested over 4,000 different types of glue. The end result represents a 76% reduction in plastic use compared to previous multipacks. Carlsberg say that once all of their 4-, 6- and 8-packs of beer have been converted to Snap Packs they will save up to 1,200 tonnes of plastic annually — enough to make 60 million plastic bags.

Given that packaging is a major component of the beer industry’s carbon footprint, developments like this are most welcome. I don’t usually write about big beer on this blog. (Perhaps that’s why it took me so long to catch up with this story; the Snap Pack was first revealed back in September last year.) I prefer to focus on the smaller breweries and craft beer. I think the stories they have to tell are generally more interesting than those of the corporate brewers. But we should give credit where it’s due, and I think Carlsberg have done something here that can provide a tangible benefit for all, beer lovers or not. I hope we will see more breweries adopting this method of selling multipack cans soon.

The beers were a free sample from Carlsberg handed out at a British Guild of Beer Writers seminar.

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