Petainer Partners with Saturnus: Bringing PET Packaging Solutions to Spirits Producers Across the Nordics and Beyond

Petainer: Saturnus Logo

For spirit producers not working in the Nordics, the system of getting their drinks on the shelf can appear a difficult and unclear process. For decades in the 1900’s, the governments of Sweden, Finland and Norway controlled the production on all alcoholic spirits, setting up alongside it the shop infrastructure to sell the products. The monopoly on production ended in the late 1900’s, but the sales monopoly continues to today, with each country having its own main sales arm. These are Systembolaget (Sweden), Vinmonopolet (Norway), and Alko (Finland), where Denmark has a separate, open market for the sale of alcohol.

Whilst they are responsible for the sale of alcohol to serve the tastes of each respective country, the monopolies have combined in terms of sustainability strategy. With a joint target to 2030, they aim to reduce the climate impact of the value chain by 50% (2019 benchmark). This includes emissions from cultivation, production, packaging, and transportation. Packaging is one of the core emitters of emissions, so any reduction in packaging emissions can have a substantial impact.

Petainer’s PET spirit range sits at the 3 key sizes for spirits producers; 350, 500 and 700ml. PET has a few benefits for the packaging of spirits. Firstly, it is lightweight, with our 350ml bottle weighing just 24g compared to a glass equivalent of 200g. Secondly, the emissions created in manufacture are lower than glass, which requires extremely high temperatures to melt and shape. The alcohol monopolies support PET, which they refer to as ‘Climate Smart Packaging’ and have opted to tender for more products in climate smart packaging moving forward.

For producers bottling their spirits in glass currently, a move to PET could be a good opportunity to expand their reach in the alcohol monopolies. Applying for a tender without a PET filling line is where Saturnus are able to support. A family owned and operated company based in Malmo, Saturnus are best known for their spiced wine Glogg, popular across Sweden at Christmas, and their range of handcrafted spirits. Saturnus have installed a new line that can run PET bottles, saving investment from brands in new equipment and offering the know-how for filling PET.

Pierre Wilhelmsson, Sales Manager at Petainer says “Acceptance of wines and spirits in PET in the Nordics has always been high, both for the sustainability benefits but also for producers where PET can be more cost effective. Saturnus fill for our clients in bespoke or off the shelf bottle designs to give their products great shelf stand out and a premium look which is important in the spirits category.”

Filip from Saturnus says “We see a future for PET as well as glass as formats for spirit products due to Systembolaget’s and the other Nordic monopolies work towards new packaging formats. We believe that glass and PET will complement each other as packaging formats. Both formats have different characteristics and benefits that consumers seek. Saturnus has recently invested in a new filling line which enables Saturnus to bottle spirit products in PET. This together with our filling lines for glass offers a good variety of packaging solutions for our customers.

About Saturnus “Saturnus is a Malmö based family owned and operated company in the 5th generation. We are a beverage company who has produced snaps, aquavit and mulled wine since 1893, which makes us the oldest and largest producer of snaps, aquavit and mulled wine in Sweden. Apart from production of our own brands and co-packing for others, Saturnus also act as an importer of well known international brands such as Evian, Aquador and Britvic.”

Below, we outline the process for tendering for business in the various monopolies. Depending on the country, final format bottles are required, labelled and bottled. A tender will define the type of wine/spirit, region, grape variety and alcohol percentage.

Tender plans

Sweden: Systembolaget – 4 tender periods per year, application to product launch ~ 8 months

1. Apply for tender, filling out the forms required
2. Systembolaget will request for a sample of a specific number of bottles
3. Bottles tasted and analyzed and tender results given

Finland: Alko - 3 tender periods at fixed times, application to product launch ~ 8

1. Apply for tender, filling out the forms required
2. Alko will review the incoming offers and select 20 from the list to taste
3. 3 samples required that look shelf ready (bottled, capped and labelled)
4. Tasting takes place and winner selected
5. Launch takes place 2-3 months after successful tender

Norway: Vinmonopolet – 2 tender periods per year, application to product launch ~ 8

1. Vinmonopolet meets with importers, producers & sommedliers to get a view on what to tender for in upcoming year
2. Marketing plan released in November and June to determine what is to be tendered for
3. Submission of selection
4. Samples requested and bling tasting selects winner