Tip­plers’ Pet?

Finweek English Edition - - BUSINESS TRENDS -

SABMILLER DIS­COV­ERED con­sumers in East­ern Europe were pre­pared to buy beer for home con­sump­tion in large, two litre plas­tic bot­tles – or poly­eth­yl­ene tereph­tha­late (Pets). How­ever, in pub­lic bars they were far more brand con­scious, re­vert­ing to draught or bot­tles.

But wine drinkers are a dif­fer­ent lot. Will they adapt to Pets? Even in the pri­vacy of the home? Backs­berg thinks they might by launch­ing an eco-friendly range un­der the la­bel: Tread Lightly. The first ini­tia­tive of its kind in South Africa, it looks like any other bot­tle of wine with a screw top – some­thing else the purists strug­gle with – but when han­dled is con­sid­er­ably lighter than its glass com­pa­triot.

Is this the fu­ture of the in­dus­try? Backs­berg and re­tail part­ners Pick n Pay think it’s worth try­ing out. “The en­joy­ment of a great bot­tle of wine should never be at the cost of the en­vi­ron­ment,” says Backs­berg pro­pri­etor Michael Back, who points out pack­ag­ing and the trans­port of wine aren’t only ma­jor com­po­nents of the fi­nal cost but also have an en­vi­ron­men­tal im­pact.

The real test is whether you’re greeted by your next din­ner party host with a look of joy or dis­dain as you hand them your of­fer­ing – wine in a plas­tic bot­tle. Re­gret­tably, that will be the lit­mus test rather than the qual­ity of the Sauvi­gnon Blanc or Mer­lot in­side, which for the tra­di­tional wine mar­ket may prove to be of sec­ondary im­por­tance.

Backs­berg is first in SA to use Pets, but the Aussies and the French have been do­ing so for some time. It’s an epi­demic!

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