The UK’s first wine canning line goes live

The UK’s first wine canning line has gone live, after Greencroft Bottling, the sister company to Lanchester Wines, started operations at its plant in County Durham.

The contract wine packer has invested more than over £2 million in the equipment, which manufactures 200ml and 250ml slimline cans. It hopes to boost production from 100 million litres in 2018 to between 300 – 400 million litres by early 2020. The new line can fill around 17,000 cans per hour, the company said.

According to Euromonitor, canned wine consumption in Western Europe is growing at a rate of approx 6% year on year, and has been tipped as a major trend as consumers increasingly look for greener, more sustainable packaging. UK retailers including Waitrose, Sainsbury’s and The Coop have already dipped their toes in the canned wine market, with suppliers including Accolade, popular Provence rosé Mirabeau and Off-Piste Wines also hopping onto the growing trend.

Mark Satchwell, managing director of Greencroft Bottling said the company was constantly investing in our equipment to guarantee it was offering the best service possible to our customers and to ensure it had the correct technology in place to meet future market demands.

“The can is a format consumers are already familiar with, through soft drinks, beers and ciders, and right now canned wine consumption is growing at a rate of approximately 6% year on year in Western Europe, so we were pleased to collaborate with Ardagh to set up a dedicated wine canning line and be the first to provide for this growing market.”

“The investment in our new canning line has been substantial, sourcing the best technology available and taking our time to do it right,” he added.

Mark Roberts, Lanchester Wines’ director of sales, previously said that businesses must adapt to changing consumer preferences or risk becoming irrelevant.

Speaking at Concha y Toro’s seminar on sustainability in London over the summer, the Lanchester Group’s director of energy Adam Black said cans were the sustainable option, pointing out that aluminium recycling in the UK was very good, and although expensive to make in the first place, cans made from post-recycled aluminium could be back on shelf within sixty days of being thrown away.

Sales of canned wine sales are soaring in the US, rising 43% during 2017, driven by millennials seeking out smaller measures and on-the-go options, with Nielsen valuing the category at around $45 million.

In March, the company embarked on Greencroft Two, a  purpose built £20million, 220,000 ft2 bottling facility capable of producing around 400 million litres of wine per year, which will be powered by renewable wind and solar power. The company already generates up to six million kWh of electricity per year through wind energy – more than double what it needs – feeding the excess back into the national grid.

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