Can luxury packaging really be sustainable?

With growing focus on environmental issues, the luxury packaging world is changing

With consumers’ increasing attention on environmental issues, combined with their search to make ever more eco-friendly purchases, businesses are now acting to find practical packaging solutions with a reduced environmental impact.

This trend has led many companies operating in the beverage packaging sector to change their mission to invest even more into research and development of eco-friendly alternatives. One such example from a few months ago was the breaking news that Bacardi is to transition to biodegradable bottles before 2023. This is a sign that there are decisive moves towards the protection of the environment.

Only recently the term, luxury packaging, was considered the opposite of sustainable packaging, whereas, we can now say that they go hand in hand with no problem at all.

Clear examples of this are our Abor and T-Cask products. Both are made using innovative production processes that respectively reuse waste generated during distillation and end-of-life barrels. The resulting cutting-edge closures are designed for premium and super-premium products. And there’s also Duo, the closure that can be easily separated – the head from the leg – to enable effective recycling.


Sustainable luxury – the challenge

Until a short time ago, prestigious brands and their clients would often focus more on the aesthetic appeal of packaging rather than its eco-friendliness. But now the whole sector is changing course.

The task of producing sustainable packaging elements that are also relevant to the premium beverage market, is anything but straight forward. The challenge is highly significant. Beyond the health of the environment around us, you also have to emphasize that there is currently greater awareness compared to the past and the equation has altered to green = trendy. The core engine for this change has been the selfsame consumers, who have made significant changes to their own purchasing habits in favor of more sustainable choices.

The green trend is one we have been seeing for a number of years, but since the arrival of the Covid-19 pandemic, it has been boosted over the last year. During the first lockdown, people chose to follow a more sustainable lifestyle, McKinsey data suggests, with more focus on recycling and purchasing products with more eco-friendly packaging. This is why this trend is something that can no longer be ignored in the luxury market.

Sustainable packaging – the business choice

In recent years, even businesses in the luxury sector have reversed the trend towards more sustainable practices. Pioneers in the sector certainly include Gucci, having launched their 100% recyclable packaging in FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) certified paper, back in 2010.

Focusing exclusively on the beverage world, many producers are actively developing new, more sustainable solutions without any impact on the luxury concept. In addition to the Bacardi example noted at the start of this article, one brand that has committed to protecting the environment is Westland Distillery. It only uses natural resources for its production and Copper & Kings takes advantage of solar energy for its electricity supply.

Meaning that, apart from materials, companies are adopting measures to make production processes more environmentally friendly. This includes Tapì, which has been moving in this direction for years, by investing heavily into the research and development of new solutions to reduce carbon footprint. NEOS technology is one example. Launched in 2020, it uses renewably sourced polymers while maintaining product performance and aesthetic appeal, by working with the origins of the raw materials and not their performance.

Luxury, sustainable packaging – the future

What has been said so far helps us understand that producers have taken the commitment to reduce their environmental impact through production processes and/or materials. This is a significant step in the right direction.

Looking to the future, it seems clear that businesses will continue to improve the eco-friendliness of their packaging. And hopefully in favor of bioplastics, as they can provide the same aesthetic impact as the traditional alternatives, or other sustainable materials that are easier to recycle or reuse once they have fulfilled their task.

Read more: trends for 2021 to watch in beverage packaging design

In conclusion

In the light of the examples given here, we can certainly say that today luxury packaging really can be sustainable. The whole industry has evolved through innovations that are equally good from an aesthetic and/or performance perspective when compared to less sustainable alternatives.

Welcome to the sustainable world at Tapì

Interview with Fred Jerbis

  • The Fred Jerbis brand is certainly eye-catching and engaging. Can you tell us about the brand’s meaning and what inspired the brand’s name?

Fred Jerbis signifies “le erbe di Federico” – “the herbs of Federico” in English.  We chose a name inspired by the Friulian region specifically to highlight and reflect the importance of our heritage – it’s the basis of our product creation. The Fred Jerbis concept actually includes a range of spirits and liqueurs and they’re all characterized by their strong links with the land.

  • What made you get involved in the spirits and liqueur business? And where did you learn the skills you needed?

 To be honest, it’s all rooted in my love of plants, and for products that have botanicals as their primary ingredient. From there, my focus went into making gin and then I went on to learn the principles of making traditional Italian liqueurs. I was certain that it was possible to devise a range of spirits that can illustrate the Friuli region and Italy too, but in an authentic artisan way. My involvement in the cocktail world began back in 2000. Initially I got some experience in Spain and Italy, and then in 2008 I came back to Friuli to open my bartender training school and cocktail bar in Polcenigo.

  • What’s the key to your success in a marketplace that’s as crowded as the spirits sector? How have you differentiated yourself from competitors?

 Within the spirits and liqueurs market, FJ represents research and development. We believe that you need a fresh perspective to create original products. And you can take nothing for granted when you are evolving. Instead, you have to constantly try to keep finding a different angle. The FJ concept has two distinct objectives. The first is to create artisan spirits in limited quantities and using only the best quality ingredients. And the second objective I set was to make the best Negroni cocktail in the world, meaning I had to look beyond just one single product and focus more on blending.

  • Has the current Covid-19 pandemic had a positive or negative impact on your business?

The pandemic has been destabilizing for us. We’ve felt the impact of closures mainly due to our work with the hospitality industry. But luckily, we have managed to limit our losses with the support of our keen customers, who have chosen to continue drinking Fred Jerbis through lockdown.

  • Can you give us a sneak peek of your products in development?

At the moment, we are focused on the construction of a distillery and botanical garden so we can give even closer attention to the production phases. From a product perspective, we continue to offer our limited edition, single-vintage lines.

  • From your experience, what are the new trends in the spirits sector and what should we expect in the future?

Honestly, we’re not in a position to tell you what the upcoming trends will be. We’d love to know though! But what we do think is that consumers are changing, and they’ll always be looking for quality products. This is a growing and critical factor which we think cannot be overlooked.

  • As for packaging, what you have selected for your products reflects their artisan background and connection with tradition. Did you design and choose the individual elements yourselves or did you work with a specialist agency?

Our packaging is dual purpose. On the one hand, it uses a simple method to show the botanicals used in each spirit. And on the other, it conveys a feel of artisan production, which sets our products apart from the rest. Our own team worked on the brand creation and identity – it was part of the project development. In doing this phase of the project ourselves, it would allow us to lend a stronger sense of authenticity to it.

  • Now, let’s take a look at the closure. What made you choose the T-Wood closure for your whole range of spirits?

 Our choice of closure was simple yet distinctive, have clean lines and perfect in every detail.

Fred Jerbis selected T-Wood from the Collection range, with a natural beech wood head that’s customized with the Fred Jerbis logo in a single-colored print.

The leg is synthetic and picked out purposefully for its neutrality of impact to flavors and aromas. The leg is mounted to the head by coinjection. This cutting-edge technique avoids the use of adhesives as well as accidental breakages, while ensuring an optimum seal.