Six-Packs for the Sea

Innovation by | Aug 2016 | Issue #115

We’ve all seen the horrible photos. We might have even witnessed it in person: a fish, bird, or other animal caught in the rings of a plastic six-pack holder.

Sure, you can snip the traditional clear holders so there’s no way a critter can get tangled, but marine animals can still ingest those tiny pieces. And while the most common variety are photodegradable, it takes about 90 days for them to start breaking apart. The recyclable PakTech can carriers used by a growing number of craft breweries are made with no entanglement opportunities. But they’re still made from hard plastic, which, frankly, never disappears.

With help from advertising agency We Believers and manufacturer Entelequia Inc., the founders of Saltwater Brewery in Delray Beach, Fla., (9 Steps to Beerdom, issue #111), have developed a new six-pack holder that promises to not only save marine life from entanglement, but feed them as well. Made from spent grain, Edible Six Pack Rings are 100 percent biodegradable and compostable.

“We were founded by a group of surfers, fishermen, and watermen who love the sea and whose roots and values spur from a lifestyle that revolves around the ocean,” says Saltwater PR manager Katelyn Perkins. “We decided to tackle the issue of plastic can rings ending up in our oceans and make a statement for the whole beer industry to follow.”

In April, Saltwater Brewery produced 500 prototypes to test on six-packs of its Screamin’ Reels IPA. “We have received huge interest in the product from breweries and other companies around the world,” Perkins says. “We are moving forward to manufacture an aluminum and inox steel-machined mold which allows a production of 400,000 Edible Six Pack Rings per month.” The new mold should be ready by the end of the year and will bring the product’s manufacturing cost closer to other six-pack holders.