Craft Brewer Oskar Blues and Dow Collaborate on Printed Collation Shrink Packaging

Dow Packaging and Specialty Plastics (dowpackaging.com) a business unit of The Dow Chemical Company, is collaborating with craft beer brewer Oskar Blues along with plastics converter Berry Global (berryglobal.com) and Ampacet (ampacet.com) – a leader in color masterbatch technologies – to produce the industry’s first printed collation shrink packaging in the United States for the brewer’s 24-can variety cases. Oskar Blues piloted the packaging in 2017, which has resulted in more than 300% growth through national retailers.

The shrink solution serves as secondary packaging that wraps corrugated trays, replacing previous shrink-wrapping that held two 12-pack cartons together. The collated shrink packaging continues to feature Oskar Blues’ branding and design, maintaining shelf appeal for consumers. The brand’s new packaging has generated:

  • 40% cost savings
  • 64% reduction in secondary packaging materials usage
  • 73% fewer trucks delivering packaging materials to Oskar Blues

Oskar Blues, part of the CANarchy Craft Brewery Collective, the ninth largest craft brewer in United States according to the National Brewers Association, expects to see 46% energy savings and 51% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions based on an environmental impact assessment by Allied Development.

“Moving to collated shrink packaging for our 24-can variety packs results in business growth, sustainability benefits and strong shelf appeal,” said Jeremy Rudolf, operations manager, CANarchy Craft Brewery Collective. “Our primary focus is the quality of the beer we brew, but we also continuously evaluate options to evolve in other areas, and enhance our sustainability profiles with innovations like this new packaging solution.”

Oskar Blues’ packaging shift comes at a time when demand for collation shrink continues to rise as brands seek more cost-effective, sustainable secondary packaging solutions. The rapidly-growing craft beer industry is a logical area for growth in collation shrink secondary packaging.

“Craft beer companies like Oskar Blues are agile and willing to try innovative, creative ways to differentiate their products in an increasingly crowded marketplace,” says Ritika Kalia, end-use marketing manager, Dow Packaging & Specialty Plastics. “Brewers have a strong opportunity to leverage the benefits of collation shrink for secondary beer packaging, from cost savings to sustainability.”

After initial equipment investment, film costs less per unit packaged than traditional materials, reducing warehouse storage space and the need for raw materials.

“The ability to print on collation shrink film is essential for applications where branding is so important,” says Markay Doane, Product Line Director, Berry Global, Inc. “More and more companies see its potential, given the opportunity to achieve cost and sustainability goals while still capturing consumer attention with strong branding and shelf appeal.”