Helping local brewers tap into the circular economy

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Sales of craft beer and the volume of local brewers are fizzing, as pubs continue to decline and staying in seems a good option following the pandemic.

But brewers and distributors must be smart if they don’t want drooping sales. With so many rival brands on offer they’ll have their work cut out to persuade people to buy them. This means offering a convenient, affordable and sustainable way to drink beer at home.

Sustainability might not instantly spring to mind as an important factor in product choice. But 92% of UK consumers say environmentally friendly ingredients are key to buying one brand over another.

So, how can brewers get drink to people in a way that’s sustainable while maintaining their quality?

The pressure is on for producers in all food and beverage categories to reduce, reuse and recycle packaging materials. There’s no reason why the drinks sector shouldn’t play a part in the circular economy.

The way forward is to create alliances between product designers and manufacturers that offer all of the inputs required for a sustainable approach to packaging.

This could mean taking a leaf out of Loop‘s book. Regular readers might recognise the global reuse platform enabled by stakeholders across manufacturing and retail – it’s fast becoming a leading light in sustainable packaging and circularity.

To prompt drinkers to sign up for regular craft beer deliveries, the product has to be right. Now there’s a new approach to packaging that can deliver an authentic drinking experience for every craft beer fan’s taste.

Round to yours with Your Round

Currently in conceptual form, Your Round is a craft beer subscription service that connects consumers with local brewers.

The initiative – devised through Infinite, a joint venture between branding and design agency 1HQ and sustainability business Anthesis – offers craft beer enthusiasts a wide choice of brewers to explore via an online platform.

Subscribers order beer that arrives in unbranded, portable two-litre and five-litre modular containers. The pressurised system is activated using a refillable CO2 canister.

Once used, containers are returned for cleaning and refilling as often as the drinker wants, or returned to the system for use by the next customer.

Containers are fitted with smart tap technology. This is the primary brand interface that “talks” to subscribers via a lens using e-ink technology. The lens displays the customer’s chosen beer, and information such as remaining product, filling/brewing date, C02 pressure and temperature.

The shape of the pack means the container can be stored horizontally or vertically in a fridge and has multi-directional pouring. It also keeps the beer as fresh as you’d find it in the pub.

This reuse packaging system addresses the industry’s environmental impact, allowing beer brands to move the needle on their scope 3 decarbonisation commitments. Finally, data from the app that accompanies the subscription service could be mined to improve the product, and drive interest and take-up.

Features we can all drink to – and that bring the pub experience to your front room.

Written by Tim Ryan, Designer of Structure & Experience at 1HQ