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03.2008

Massachusetts Beverage Business

archivedOnWineReport

WHERE ARE ALL the BOTTLES?

Will wines soon be coming IN PLASTIC BOTTLES and cardboard boxes? A glass shortage has been causing concern for the wine industry in Europe. The shortfall of bottles has left some winemakers struggling to meet orders and, although glass factories are working at full capacity, it’s not certain when the situation will be resolved. The problem is an amalgamation of several issues, according to Rebecca Cocking, recycling manager at British Glass. “In the past few years several of the glass companies have merged and some lines were taken out as there was overcapacity at one point,” she explained. Then last year there were furnace rebuilds and the fact that the harvest came early in parts of Europe impeded on stocks. Price increases have also exacerbated the situation. “The factories are working towards building up stock levels. They work 24/7, 365 days a year anyway, so it’s now a case of playing catch-up,” said Rebecca. Although the UK doesn’t bottle a huge amount of wine, Andy Dawe, head of retail programs at WRAP (Waste & Resources Action Program), said the situation does provide a major threat to the development of bulk importing and bottling using lighter bottles. The trade is being encouraged to do this through the GlassRite initiative in order to achieve environmental benefits. “Smaller buyers in particular are having to scour the world looking for glass containers and some are actively looking at alternative packaging materials,” said Andy.

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