Edrington, which is the owner of Glenrothes Single Highland Malt Whisky, has recently partnered with Guala Closures, JC Ribeiro and Allied Glass to create a unique and innovative natural cork stopper.
The closure has been given the name TorQ because it is a natural cork closure which requires a slight twist to apply and to release it from the bottle. This innovation has the potential to produce significant benefits for the spirits industry.
Figures from the WSTA indicate that Britain is the biggest exporter of spirits in the world, and Single malt whisky has recently surpassed £1 billion of exports for the first time.
The Asia-Pacific region is an extremely important market for Scotch Whisky. Premium products and Single Malt Scotch in particular have generated exciting levels of growth, and there continue to be great opportunities in these markets. Typically these products are sealed using a natural cork stopper, as this is widely recognised as the most premium way of sealing the bottle. However, this traditional type of closure can generate significant problems in markets where the climate can be hot and humid, or where journeys through an extended supply chain can include challenging environments en route.
As the whisky heats up in a warmer environment, it expands and compresses the headspace above the liquid. This can result in leakage, failure of the stopper, damage to the packaging or in extreme cases the stopper can be expelled explosively, destroying the capsule. Sometimes this damage can be invisible until the point of sale or consumption, which causes damage to brand reputation.
Working in partnership with Guala, JC Ribeiro and Allied Glass, Edrington has developed a creative solution to the failure of standard cork mouth closures which endure challenging environments. This closure is a unique and innovative concept never previously applied to spirit beverages and is designed to address issues of failure in hot climates.
The TorQ closure looks no different to a standard cork closure, which means that there is no loss of quality perception of the product on shelf. However the glass finish and the closure are threaded, so a small twist upon the closure application secures the cork, with the threads preventing any upwards creep or movement.
The consumer intuitively twists a cork when they remove it from the bottle so this ingenious solution uses this natural instinct to solve an industry-wide issue. There is an additional benefit: consumers who attempt to lever a cork stopper from the bore using their thumbs can break the cork. This is a relatively common complaint from customers in any market. The TorQ stopper requires the consumer to twist the closure to remove it, and Edrington expects the number of broken cork complaints also to reduce significantly as a result of this innovation.
Glenrothes Single Malt Scotch Whisky, using the TorQ closure is now running at normal application speeds on Edrington’s fully automated production lines, and many thousands of cases have already been shipped to customers around the world with confidence that the product will arrive in pristine condition.