First Class Glass Packaging

Processors gravitate to glass packaging for branding, premium positioning and product protection.

By Kate Bertrand, Packaging Editor

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"Safeway's new, private label O Organics feature a number of everyday food products that are packaged in glass: salsa, maple syrup, salad dressing, pasta sauce and olive oil. Clearly, Safeway is communicating ‘premium organic products' by packaging these products in glass," says the Glass Packaging Institute's Cattaneo.

The Safeway supermarket chain launched the O Organics line, which includes more than 150 USDA-certified organic items, last September. The jars and bottles are decorated with cut-and-stack labels featuring photos of fresh ingredients such as tomatoes and garlic.

Containers shape up

Decorating techniques and the glass container's shape play an important role in communicating quality and setting an organic or natural item - or any product - apart from competitors.

As part of the redesign for its mineral water and sparkling water packaging, Mountain Valley Spring Co. (, Hot Springs National Park, Ark., significantly changed the shape of its bottle.

The redesigned package incorporates embossing and ACL, to convey the products' premium quality. The new bottle shape, graphics and embellishments put a contemporary spin on a bottle design Mountain Valley Spring used in the early 20th century.

The goals of the redesign were to give the product a more premium look and feel and to set it apart from competitors by calling out its longevity. "There are not a lot of water companies out there that date back to 1871. Mountain Valley Spring wanted to really go after its heritage," says Dan Matauch, principal of Detroit-based Flowdesign Inc. (, the agency that designed the new package.

Circling the shoulder of the new bottle is the phrase "Since 1871," embossed three times, and "America's Premium Water," embossed twice. The ACL artwork includes illustrations of mountains and trees, applied in light green ceramic ink as a backdrop to the product and brand identification.

To meet filling equipment and shelf requirements, the bottle stands less than 12 inches high. Vitro supplies the bottles, which are made from green glass.

A stimulating package

Companies outside the organic/natural segment, most notably in the spirits category, also are using the shape and decoration of their glass packaging to convey brand imagery and product personality.

"The most impactful glass packaging recently has been for spirits," says Mary Ellen Reis, president of Packnology (, Peacham, Vt., a packaging consulting agency. In particular, "The big trends are brown liquors and brown cocktails. They're getting a lot of attention."

Starbucks Corp. (, Seattle, is riding the trend with its Starbucks Coffee Liqueur, developed in partnership with Beam Global Spirits and Wine Inc. (, Deerfield, Ill.


Glass Packaging: Starbucks Coffee Liqueur
When Beam Global Spirits wanted to bring the Starbucks name to liqueurs, the glass bottle was shaped to remind consumers of both a cocktail shaker and a Starbucks coffee cup.

The liqueur's bottle shape is reminiscent of a cocktail shaker - or a Starbucks coffee cup - and the bottle is rendered in dark amber glass. The product comes in 50- and 750-ml and 1-l sizes. Positioned as a super-premium cordial, the product is available at retail and on-premise locations but not in Starbucks stores.

Starbucks' logo is displayed in a debossed circle on the front of the bottle. The logo and product identification are applied using ACL, and the Starbucks name is embossed on the shoulder of the bottle. As a final touch, the bottle's brown closure is decorated with a ring of stars using a heat-transfer label.

"The goal was to create a package that communicates the product's authentic coffee flavor while generating a ‘high purchase intent' on its own behalf. The bottle is meant to communicate sophistication and the product's versatility as a straight sipper, a base for mixers, and an ingredient in a variety of drinks," says Kelly Doss, director, Starbucks Liqueurs, Beam Global Spirits and Wine.

Doss adds it was important "to make sure that Starbucks customers perceived Starbucks Coffee Liqueur as something with a new and unique set of brand cues: versatility, sophistication, and of course, authentic Starbucks coffee flavor."

The companies subsequently came out with Starbucks Cream Liqueur in a similarly shaped bottle rendered in a light cream-colored glass. Playing to Starbucks' strength, the cream product includes a touch of coffee.

The Burlington, Wis., facility of Saint-Gobain Containers ( supplies the 1-l bottles, and Anchor Glass Container Corp.'s Henryetta, Okla., plant supplies the 750-ml bottles for both liqueurs.

In the flavored alcoholic beverages category, bottle shape plays an important role in the rebranding and package redesign of Seagram's Coolers. Currently owned by Pernod-Ricard, the brand received a new moniker, Seagram's Cooler Escapes, and the package's shape and graphics were overhauled.

United States Beverage LLC (, Stamford, Conn., which markets the product, timed the rebranding to Seagram's Coolers' 20th anniversary on the market. The Escapes bottle, which looks like a beer bottle, replaces the product's highly recognizable but dated teardrop-shaped container. Owens-Illinois Inc. (, Toledo, Ohio, supplies the new 12-oz. bottles.

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