For those who think that the beer bottle is in its prime - the world's leading brewer, AB InBev, wants you to think again. Using newly developed technology from the Tattoo Alpha Plant in Haasrode, in Leuven, Belgium, AB InBev is working to evolve from using paper labels on beer bottles to imprinting branding on the bottles themselves. “Direct object printing” allows AB InBev to “tattoo” its designs directly onto its bottles using only ink and varnish that wraps around the glass. It is also embossed for tactile effect. This new process could one day replace plastic labels and allow for potential environmental and economic benefits.
An initial release of 200,000 bottles are being launched in the U.K. as part of a limited edition run of Beck's Artist Series in collaboration with AB InBev's Global Innovation and Technology Center (GITEC) and six up and coming artists. There will be nine different bottles developed as part of the collection. While the technology has been tested previously in small batches, this is the first time the innovation will be used in the broader mass market. If successful, the technology could be expanded from the U.K. globally.
The Global Innovation and Technology Center (GITEC) team partners across AB InBev innovating alongside multiple product and process development teams, in addition to packaging innovation. Farida Bensadoun, one of AB InBev's Front End Innovation and Material Science Engineers who is working on the beverage packaging of the future gave a glimpse into her role and responsibilities and what it means to be at the forefront of new products and technologies.