Monday, May 20, 2024

The First Refillable Spirits Effort Comes to France


EcoSpirits and La Maison du Whisky have partnered on a circular refill retail effort coming to more than 100 retail outlets in France to reduce bottle and packaging waste.

EcoSpirits France and La Maison du Whisky (LMDW) have announced a collaborative circular retail initiative in France, introducing a novel spirits refill solution for premium and exclusive spirits within the retail sector.

The new venture marks the first instance of EcoSpirits’ closed-loop technology being made available to European retailers, beginning in selected LMDW-owned retail outlets in Paris and set to expand to over 100 spirits retail outlets across France, before reaching other off-trade retailers in early 2024.

Constance Moreau-Luchaire, Senior Marketing Manager & Project Management Officer at La Maison du Whisky, expressed enthusiasm about the initiative. “In a retail setting, EcoSpirits will enable the offering of bulk spirits while placing at the core of the process: eco-responsibility, experimental elements, and very high-quality spirit in small batches.”

EcoSpirits Ecototes | Courtesy

The new program showcases limited-edition spirit brands, produced exclusively for the collaboration, unavailable in traditional glass bottle formats. This initiative aligns with France’s anti-waste law, ‘Loi AGEC’, mandating sustainability and circularity information with products.

The refill solution operates through the SmartPour 2.0S technology in stores, enabling consumers to select from three bottle sizes: a 20CL tester, 50CL, or 70CL. Spirits are delivered to retailers in EcoTote format and dispensed to consumers via SmartPour 2.0S units, designed in bronze to mimic a copper pot still’s appearance, specially designed for the retail sector. Customers are encouraged to fill their branded reusable bottles directly from the SmartPour, then attach a label and a screen-printed wooden bottle cap with the EcoSpirits logo to finalize their purchase.

The initial spirits participating in this project are Compass Box Synthesis (Blended Scotch Whisky), Christian Drouin Verger Sauvage gin, Renegade Hope rhum agricole, and Amorik single malt whisky, all produced in small batches for this project. Once stocks deplete, they will be replaced by new special release spirits, including seasonal variants.

“I am thrilled to see the launch of this retail campaign, which will provide discerning consumers across France the opportunity to purchase wonderful products and contribute to the circular economy,” Iain McPherson, Sales Director, EMEA, EcoSpirits, said in a statement. “LMDW has worked with hundreds of on-trade venues in France to help them adopt EcoSpirits’ closed-loop technology. And now, thanks to its hard work, the company – together with the EcoSpirits Product team – has developed a smart solution for the retail sector, which I am sure will intrigue and inspire customers across the country.”

pernod ricard brands
Pernod Ricard is investing in sustainable packaging company EcoSpirits | Courtesy

According to EcoSpirits website, in 2020 the world produced 689 billion units of single-use glass packaging; 70 billion were single-use glass spirits and wine bottles. While glass is more easily recycled than plastic, it is heavier. That means more fuel is needed in transport, contributing to the climate crisis. EcoSpirits estimates that the average carbon footprint of spirits/wine packaging is 550g of CO2 emissions per bottle.

Earlier this year, Pernod Ricard took a minority stake in EcoSpirits, praising the opportunity to support an “innovative solution” to the spirits industry. “We’re very bullish on the brand’s potential, and we’re committed to making our new Jefferson’s facility one of the most exemplary distilleries in the world in order to achieve it,” Ann Mukherjee, Chairman and CEO, Pernod Ricard North America, said in a statement at the time.

The new collaboration is part of EcoSpirits’ ongoing efforts to explore circular solutions in the spirits industry’s off-premise sector. It follows the development of the SmartKiosk, an intelligent retail system designed to reduce single-use glass waste from at-home spirits consumption. The SmartKiosk is currently being piloted in CS Fresh supermarket outlets in Singapore.

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