Australia’s first paper bottle manufacturing service is on its way

March 19, 2024
By Cody Profaca

The first paper bottle manufacturing facility in Australia will soon be available to liquor industry brands following Mother of Pearl Vodka’s recent investment in a Frugalpac Frugal Bottle machine. Its contract filling service will operate under the registered business name Paper Bottles Pty Ltd and will offer Australian wine producers a simple end-to-end service that covers everything from design to production. 

“We will be operational and available to make paper bottles for the Australian wine industry from early 2025,” said Mother of Pearl Co-Founder Nic Hancock.

“We have the capacity to do roughly around two to two and a half million bottles a year from the one machine.”

Mother of Pearl Vodka has already been successfully marketing and selling its products in paper bottles imported from Frugalpac’s UK facilities. While the majority of its focus has been in the Scandinavian and Asian markets, it has also received notable domestic interest from Endeavour Group, who will soon be conducting a glass and paper side by side market run in its Geelong Dan Murphy’s stores.

“Everyone enjoys the weightlessness of it,” said Hancock. 

“When you think of a bottle of wine or a spirit, you’re looking at around about 1200 grams to 1400 grams, whereas a full bottle of vodka within the frugal bottle is 730 grams so it’s half the weight. 

“It works well for festivals, picnics, on any leisure craft, airlines, cruise ships and international resort hotels especially because when you finish with the bottle, you can unclip it if you wish –  so it has a pressure point where it unfolds and it just comes into half shells, and then it’s easily disposable.”

Since being established in 2020, Frugalpac has quickly expanded into more than 26 countries and currently has more than 38 repeat customers buying its products on a weekly basis. As of this week, its bottles are being used for two of Aldi UK’s own-brand wines.

“We continue to grow at a fast pace,” said Malcolm Waugh, CEO at Frugalpac. 

“Major retail is seeing the benefits of the Frugal Bottle… the reason the retailers are interested is, if they look at [a recent] study done by the IGD Institute of Grocery Distribution in the UK… they’ve said that 21% of the carbon from packaging within a retail store, (and I think this would be the same around the world,) comes from beers, wines and spirits, and it’s the largest contributor to carbon in the store’s category… If Coles or Endeavour or someone like that wants to reduce their carbon significantly, they should focus in on that beers, wines and spirits category, because that does 21% of it.

“So this is a sort of low hanging fruit, and we’ve got a solution for them to quickly move that still operates in the world of the consumer in a way that the glass bottle would be, so you’re not having to change behaviours to really reduce carbon.”

According to a recent Intertek Life Cycle Analysis, Frugal Bottle have a 84% reduced carbon footprint when compared to a 440g imported glass bottle, or four times lower than a lightweight glass bottle made domestically. The food grade pouch used is also certified recyclable. 

“When we launched the Frugal bottle, we did a starting poll where over 2000 people were asked a very simple question – we showed them a picture of the bottle and asked them, ‘would you buy wine in a paper bottle?’ said Waugh. 

“We got effectively over 60% answering positively, some were probably, some were maybe, but probably I think more significantly from that, we got 5% that say definitely not. So 95% of the consumers were in a mind to use the bottle and over 60% of them were extremely positive towards it.

“The other thing the Frugal Bottle does from a consumer perspective is create a point of difference for brands that are entering quite a crowded market. So the Frugal Bottle stands out as a point of difference and that point of difference attracts a consumer.”

Nic Hancock also noted that the durability and smash-resistance of paper bottles accommodates them to various niche markets. 

“Having no glass by the pool – where people have broken glass and glasses in pools and you drain them, it’s about five days to empty a pool, clean it and have it refilled,” he said.

“When it comes to where weight really counts, when you’re talking about airlines, cruise ships, when you’re looking at the convenience of not having glass near the water, whether it’s oceans, on its leisure crafts or by the pools so to speak: all of those aspects are real and an immediate point of where we’re going in the market.

“So that’s a real plus for us, and the paper bottle is what drives a lot of those conversations… It hits that really key market.”

As it stands, a Frugal Bottle currently costs approximately $2.09 end-to-end, label included, which is approximately double the cost of an average glass bottle. Despite this, Malcolm Waugh is optimistic that Frugalpac will continue to steal market share away from its glass competition over the coming years.

“We are aiming for a market share of 0.5% by 2028,” he said.

“The marketplace is the addressable market’s over 35 billion bottles a year. Glass bottles are used in Bordeaux shaped bottles on the 70 centilitre spirit bottle so it’s a big global market.

“if we can get 0.5% of that, that’s the sort of springboard for us to start to take more market share and more carbon out of the marketplace.”

For more information, visit Frugalpac’s website and Mother of Pearl Vodka’s website.

Share the content