Corona has revealed a new project that harnesses surplus barley straw to create a new paper secondary packaging solution.

Corona is the first global brand to leverage the technology and processes that have been developed over the last three years by AB InBev’s Global Innovation and Technology Centre (GITEC). This technology reimagines the use of barley, giving the essential beer ingredient new life as a packaging solution.

Barley straw, a leftover from farmers' harvests, will now be used through a unique pulping process built to handle its relative fragility. Combined with 100% recycled wood fibres, this process creates a paper board to produce new packaging that is reportedly as strong and durable as a regular six-pack.

According to the company, turning barley straw into paper fibre uses 90% less water in its production than the traditional virgin wood process, along with less energy and fewer harsh chemicals.

Corona also says that using leftover barley straw is more productive than the equivalent area of woodland, and the company sees this as one path forward to eliminate the need for virgin trees and raw material from their supply chain in the future.

Upon completion of the pilot, AB InBev, Corona’s parent company, will review rolling out the technology to its other brands, which include Budweiser and Stella Artois.

Keenan Thompson, director of packaging innovation at AB InBev, said: “We’re excited to finally launch this new packaging innovation we’ve been developing over the past three years. At AB InBev we are continually pushing boundaries by developing scalable solutions. Today is a proud moment for us, not only are we providing an opportunity for farmers but we’re also delivering a more mindful solution to the consumer.”

The new packaging will launch today with an initial 10,000 six-packs rolling out as a pilot in Colombia in March, followed by Argentina later in 2021 as Corona looks to scale the new solution globally.