Johnnie Walker will soon come in a paper bottle

Diageo partners in sustainable packaging startup that is also working with Unilever and PepsiCo

Published On
Jul 14, 2020

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The future of spirits may be—paper. Diageo just announced that it has created the first 100 percent plastic-free paper-based spirits bottle, which will debut in early 2021 on new vessels for the company’s Scotch Whisky Johnnie Walker.

The new bottle was developed by Pulpex Limited, a new sustainable packaging technology company formed by both Diageo and venture management company Pilot Lite. Pulpex has also formed a partner consortium with other big brands including Unilever and PepsiCo, who are also expected to release their own branded paper bottles in 2021, according to a release from the company. 

The paper-based bottle, made from sustainably-sourced pulp, is fully recyclable and meets food-safe standards. The technology was developed to work across a spectrum of liquid products and encourages other brands to rethink their packaging to be more sustainable without compromising product quality.  

Johnnie Walker paper bottle

Photo Credit: Diageo

Diageo developed the idea as part of its commitment towards Goal 12 of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, “Responsible Consumption and Production.”

"We're proud to have created this world first,” said Diageo Chief Sustainability Officer Ewan Andrew in a statement. “We are constantly striving to push the boundaries within sustainable packaging and this bottle has the potential to be truly ground-breaking. It feels fitting that we should launch it with Johnnie Walker, a brand that has often led the way in innovation throughout its 200 years existence."

Diageo isn’t the first big brand to explore paper bottles. Sustainable packaging startup Paboco has brought together brands including Absolut, Coca-Cola, L’Oreal and Carlsberg as a “pioneer community” to explore and develop paper bottles for their products.