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!