Case Study - Famous Grouse
01 Dec 2012
Edrington, the company behind quality brands such as The Famous
Grouse, The Macallan and Highland Park, is acutely aware of its
responsibilities to the environment. It is an active participant in
the Scotch Whisky Association's ambitious drive to reduce the
impact of packaging on the environment.
Edrington has already achieved its ambition of reducing the
average weight of The Famous Grouse packaging by 10%. It has
re-written the rules of glass design to produce a bottle setting
new standards for environmental improvement in the Scotch Whisky
Its goal was to make, fill and successfully ship a bottle with
all the existing features of a premium design, including embossing
and label protection at a much lower weight than was thought
This project was an extension of Edrington's continuous
improvement programme. The Famous Grouse pack had already been
engineered to just 395 grams, while continuing to present the
correct quality image and survive the rigours of the supply chain.
This weight was less than almost all premium competitors. Until now
the industry believed this was the minimum weight for a bottle
which requires to be orientated by 'mechanical spotting', ensuring
the label always faces the front.
Working with Zero Waste Scotland and O-I, a key bottle supplier,
Edrington agreed a new target weight of 340 grams. This was a
substantial reduction of 14% on top of the lightweighting. The
design retained the existing diameter, allowing expensive line
changeparts to be retained but was reduced in height by 7mm. The
14% weight reduction leads to around the same reduction in CO2 in
percentage terms. In general, a 395g bottle would produce 0.229kg
CO2e per bottle, while a 340g bottle would create 0.197kg CO2e per
The bottle was trialled twice at the O-I Glass manufacturing
site in Alloa and the new glass wall thickness passed all strength
and impact tests with flying colours. Samples were filled by
Edrington on the fastest bottling line for Scotch Whisky, running
at up to 600 bottles per minute. Bottles were packed in lightweight
cases and shipped through the UK and to Taiwan and the Nordics. It
was a stern test for the bottle, but it ran successfully through
all of the processes without any hitches or breakages.
The lightweight, wraparound outer case contains over 70%
post-consumer recyclate and all case material is FSC
Edrington is initially rolling-out the new lightweight container
across all The Famous Grouse production of 70 cl and litre packages
for the UK market. This amounts to around 11 million containers in
the first year and a weight reduction of around 600 tonnes.
Assuming the pack continues to meet all performance requirements,
Edrington will widen the scope of this far-sighted initiative in
pursuit of its ambitious sustainability goals.