The UK’s first large-scale wine canning line has gone live at Greencroft Bottling Company in County Durham, boasting reported filler speeds of 17,000 cans per hour and offering both still and carbonated filling for wine, soft drinks and RTDs.
Contract wine packer, Greencroft Bottling has invested over £2million in the state-of-the-art equipment. Working closely with Ardagh Group Metal Beverage Europe, the new can filling line is initially focusing on the popular 200ml and 250ml slimline cans but is also ready to handle Ardagh’s new 187ml Wine Can format.
Mark Satchwell, managing director of Greencroft Bottling, says, “We constantly invest in our equipment to guarantee we’re offering the best service possible to our customers and ensure we have the correct technology in place to meet future market demands. The can is a format consumers are already familiar with, through soft drinks, beers and ciders, and right now canned wine consumption is growing at a rate of approximately 6% year on year in Western Europe, so we were pleased to collaborate with Ardagh to set up a dedicated wine canning line and be the first to provide for this growing market.”
Ardagh provided technical support for the line commissioning and set-up, as well as establishing criteria for wine compatibility testing. Greencroft Bottling chose to work with Ardagh because of its extensive track record in the wine industry and its “unmatched expertise” in wine-safe can specifications.
“The investment in our new canning line has been substantial, sourcing the best technology available and taking our time to do it right,” says Satchwell. “We’re a family business looking to the future, so it’s imperative we do things once and do them well.”
Dirk Schwung, Sales Director at Ardagh Group Metal Beverage Europe, comments: “Our Customer Technical Service team has an unrivalled depth of knowledge and experience – it’s an invaluable resource for customers who are looking to expand packaging formats in the way Greencroft Bottling has, or who need any kind of filling line support. We can help customers achieve time and cost savings, and make sure sensitive products are correctly handled and quality-protected, so we’re proud to have worked alongside Greencroft to create the first large-scale wine canning line in the UK.”
Thanks to a big investment in sustainable energy by its parent company, Lanchester Group, Greencroft’s bottling lines are powered by wind turbines. The company argues that aluminium cans are already a sustainable, uncomplicated packaging solution which appeals to all age groups and lifestyle choices – from the environmentally-conscious Millennial through to Baby Boomers and Gen X-ers seeking convenience and variety – and Greencroft Bottling’s commitment to using renewable energy for its bottling and canning processes purportedly reduces the carbon footprint of each individual product even further.
“At Greencroft Bottling, we believe being carbon neutral is just the beginning,” says Satchwell. “Canning in aluminium is another major sustainability move. Aluminium is a permanent material and it recycles forever; a beverage can could be back on the shelf in just 60 days.”
Among the first customers to use the new facility is Greencroft Bottling’s sister company, Lanchester Wines. “It’s 100% in line with our strategy,” says Lanchester Wines’ director of sales, Mark Roberts. “We’re a family business that has sustainability at its heart.”
Lanchester Wines’ Nika Tiki Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc and Sauvignon Blanc Rosé will be first down the canning line, followed by its Hacienda de Calidad Argentinian Malbec.