Coca-Cola and Anheuser-Busch as well as Abita Brewing and Bling Beverages were among the winners of the Glass Packaging Institute's (GPI) 2006 Clear Choice Awards.
The awards, presented at the May Food Marketing Institute Show in Chicago, annually recognize consumer packaged goods companies for expanding the frontiers of glass packaging design and new product innovation.
"Glass says 'purity,' 'premium' and 'sustainability' like no other packaging material," says GPI President Joseph Cattaneo. "Consumer product manufacturers that choose to package their products in glass provide their customers with a personal connection that reinforces their values and lifestyles.
"And given the ongoing growth of the organic foods market and the preference of [those food manufacturers] for glass packaging, manufacturers are starting to view glass as the organic packaging material of choice," adds Cattaneo.
In fact, two of the categories are earmarked for organics. Top organic food package was a store-branded one. Grocery chain Safeway Inc., Pleasanton, Calif., won for the simple bottle design of its O Organics Tomato Basil Pasta Sauce. The glass container supplier was Saint-Gobain Containers, Muncie, Ind.
Under its O Organics private label, Safeway grocery stores released more than 150 USDA-certified organic food products. "In an effort to truly position the new O product line as authentically organic and pure, food and beverage products such as salsa, pasta sauce and maple syrup are all packaged in 100 percent recyclable glass bottles and jars," GPI wrote in giving the award. "The cut and stack labels feature beautiful photographs of mushrooms, roasted garlic, tomatoes, chili peppers and other fresh ingredients alongside panels of warm pastel shades."
The other organic category was beverages. Honest Tea Inc., Bethesda, Md., won for Just Green and Just Black Teas, unsweetened, ready-to-drink organic teas just launched in January at the Winter Fancy Foods Show. The cut and stack labeling on both bottles features serene photos of raw black and green teas. Supplier was Owens-Illinois (O-I), Toledo, Ohio.
In the beer category, Redhook Ale Brewery, Woodinville, Wash., won for redesigned amber bottles across most of its product lines. "The split cut and stack label design and warm color palette help create an upscale craft beer image," the institute wrote. Supplier was O-I.
Coca-Cola Blak won in the carbonated beverages category. The new coffee-cola beverage is packaged in Atlanta-based Coca-Cola's signature-shaped glass bottle featuring full-sleeve shrink labeling. Supplier is Vitro Packaging, Plano, Texas.
The winner among non-carbonated beverages was Bling H2O by Bling Beverages LLC, Las Vegas. It's just bottled water, but hand-applied Swarovski crystals make a luxurious statement on the "runway model-like thin, tall, frosted glass bottle. The product successfully demonstrates etched glass, screen print and crystal application," judges wrote. Suppliers are Saint-Gobain Containers and Vitro Packaging.
In traditional food, Knott's Berry Foods (a unit of ConAgra Foods, Omaha, Neb.) won for Knott's Berry Preserves. Anchor Glass' square jar "communicates 'premium,' " the institute says. "This product features a square jar with a deeply indented contoured label panel, matched by the contour label. The container displays fruit shapes around the shoulder and heel debossed in glass, and it is topped off with a black lug closure with gold printing and a rendering of the Knott's Berry Farm printed on the top."
Top package in distilled spirits is Shakka, a flavored liqueur from Reisigl Associates, a division of Cruzan Ltd., West Palm Beach, Fla. "A clear flint glass bottle, acid etched with a mask to leave a clear area around the heel, is accompanied by a metallic, pressure-sensitive shoulder label and topped with a Stel closure that is colored to match the lava-like product offering within." Supplier is Anchor Glass, Lancaster, Ohio.
St. Louis-based Anheuser-Busch's new Peels beverage, primarily marketed to women, won in flavored alcoholic beverages. "The short neck and bright resealable closures create a distinguished and modern look. The flint glass showcases the colorful product inside, which coordinates with the color scheme of the pressure-sensitive label and closure." Supplier is O-I.
Among wines, Zonté Sparkling Wine from Vincor Canada, Mississauga, Ontario, has a design "that appeals to its hip, youthful consumer group," GPI says. The bottle "invites the curious consumer to pick up the product and find out what the product is all about. With its hybrid shape (part wine bottle, part sparking water), Zonte aims to appeal to new generation of wine consumers." Glass container supplier is Vitro Packaging.
The sole nonfood category, cosmetic and fragrance products, was won by Aramis Always for Him & for Her by Estée Lauder and supplier Vitro Packaging.
Two special awards also were given.
Overall package design winner was Corzo Tequila by Bacardi Bottling Corp., Miami. "Unlike the typical approach to glass bottle design used for tequila, Bacardi desired to blend art and science to create this unique bottle design." Supplier is Saint-Gobain Desjonquères.
A sentimental "Success Story" award was given to Fleur-de-Lis Restoration Ale from New Orleans' Abita Brewing Co. and bottle supplier Saint-Gobain Containers. "Abita began crafting its Fleur-de-lis Restoration Ale the moment after they knew their brewery had been miraculously spared from any major damage from Hurricane Katrina," the judges wrote. "Abita is proud to be a Louisiana-based company and feels blessed that they are still able to produce its products and keep their employees working. The company chose the Fleur-de-Lis name because it is a well-recognized symbol of New Orleans, and it is also a symbol of light and life. This golden ale's label is decorated with purple and green designs -- colors historically representing justice, hope and generosity."
The 2006 Clear Choice Awards judging panel included representatives from academia, packaging design and the trade media. As in past years, the entries were judged on aesthetics, creativity, marketability, and form and functionality.
The Glass Packaging Institute (www.gpi.org) is the trade association representing the North American glass container industry.