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Beer icon crowned in aluminium

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Like everything else in Australia, beer is big. Very big. The Foster's Group Limited has had no small part in its popularityboth down under and worldwide. *Trish Hamer writes

It came as no surprise, therefore, that when Foster’s looked to launch an aluminium bottle product in Australia it would do so in a big way.

Foster’s had been watching the development of the aluminium bottle market in North America and decided that the timing was right for a launch in the Australian marketplace.

“We waited to launch our Crown Lager in aluminium bottles until just the right time,” Foster’s Australia consumer solutions manager Paul Gloster said.

“We celebrate Christmas and New Year’s under the summer sun here in Australia, and we wanted to introduce our premium brew in its unique new packaging at the height of the holiday season.”

Foster’s Crown Lager is the market leader in Australia, popular with the nightclub set as well as sports fans. Crown Lager was first introduced to the Australian consumer in June 1953 to celebrate the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II.

Before that event, it was available only to an exclusive group of individuals comprised of diplomats and visiting dignitaries. And until now, Crown Lager was only available in 375ml glass bottles.

“Just as in the North American market,” explained Ed Martin, vice president of sales and marketing for CCL Container, “the aluminium bottle helps marketers drive consumption.

Foster’s considered other on-premise package options, including PET and shaped cans, but ultimately decided that our aluminium bottles offered the unique shape, upscale look and distinct style that would enhance the premium image of Crown Lager

CCL Container has been in the forefront of the beer industry’s wave of enthusiasm for the aluminium bottle.

In fact, CCL introduced the American beer-drinking market to the first American-made aluminium crown beer bottle for Pittsburgh Brewing Company’s Iron City beer.

That landmark introduction earned CCL one of the two WorldStar Awards it was selected for in 2005.

Although a perennial winner at the yearly showcase for the world’s most outstanding packaging, the 2005 WorldStar that CCL received for its aluminium beer bottle entry had special significance at CCL.

In 2004, CCL Container’s aluminium bottle was selected as one of BusinessWeek Magazine’s Best New Products. The package also won a “Stevie Award” at the 2005 American Business Awards for “Best Package Design.”

“We’re very proud of the role we’ve been able to play in changing the look and shape of the future for the beer industry,” Martin said.

“Now we’re working with brewers and bottlers around the world, Australia included. The Crown Lager project has been an exciting one for CCL Container.”

Meanwhile, down under, acceptance for the aluminium bottle has been more than enthusiastic from both the trade and consumers. “It looks great in people’s hands,” says Gloster, “and aluminium keeps our Crown Lager cooler much longer than glass in the hot Australian sun.”

Of course, the new packaging introduction was not without its bumps in the road, according to Gloster.

“Many operational challenges were overcome, ranging from pallet sizes to seal application. But we had CCL and Amcor Australasia as partners through the process. We couldn’t have done it without them.”

The end result is a great looking aluminium bottle that has premium beer written all over it.

Amcor Australasia played an important role in the Crown Lager aluminium bottle launch.

The company assisted with the logistics and distribution of the CCL Container bottles which were manufactured in North America.

Foster’s Group is a premium global multi-beverage company delivering a total portfolio of beer, wine, spirits, cider and non-alcoholic beverages.

The company consists of Foster’s Australia, Foster’s Brewing International, responsible for managing the Foster’s beer brand globally, and Foster’s Wine Estates, which includes premium wine brands such as Beringer, Penfolds and Rosemount.

Foster’s beer has enjoyed international growth of more than 40% in the last five years, and is one of the fastest growing beer brands in the world. In total, over 100 million cases of Foster’s are sold annually in more than 150 countries.

CCL Container is North America’s leading manufacturer of recyclable aluminium aerosol cans and aluminium bottles available in multiple closure systems.

The company’s manufacturing facilities are located in Hermitage, PA, Penetang, Ontario and Mexico City, Mexico.

All facilities are ISO 9002 Registered.

*Trish Hamer of US-based branding company Delia Associates wrote this release for CCL Container.

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