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16 September 2021

Grolsch brewery sets new standard with cardboard packaging for multipacks

Same character, sustainably packaged
Royal Grolsch is setting a new standard in can packaging with the introduction of the cardboard TopClip. This new packaging is 100% plastic free, and by replacing all can carriers in the Dutch market with this cardboard equivalent, Grolsch will save more than 100,000 kg of new plastic every year, which is the same as over 4 million new plastic bags. Replacing the current plastic can carriers with TopClip packaging would lead to carbon savings of a huge 36% compared to new plastic and 16% to recycled plastic carriers.
Same character, sustainably packaged
'The TopClip is a fully recyclable, biodegradable cardboard packaging. The taste of our beer is unchanged: it’s still the same character, but now more sustainably packaged. That way your beer tastes even better’, says Ard Bossema, Marketing & Strategy Director at Grolsch. With this change, Grolsch wants to set the new standard for can packaging: 'Grolsch is the first brewer in the Netherlands to introduce this packaging, giving consumers the opportunity to make a sustainable choice. As far as we are concerned, this is the new standard,' says Bossema.
Convenient carrying carton
As a replacement for the foil that is currently wrapped around the cans, several alternatives have been investigated. The major advantage of the TopClip soon became clear: unlike many other cardboard packaging materials currently on the market, it does not use any glue. The TopClip is made of FSC certified corrugated cardboard, with careful consideration given to the types of paper used to ensure that the cans remain securely in the packaging, even in the refrigerator. The new packaging is easy to pick up through the two holes at the top of the packaging, designed for thumb and index finger. The cans are firmly secured in the carrying tray, but at the same time, they can be easily removed from the packaging. Moreover, the top of the cans is covered by the TopClip, ensuring the area from which drinks are taken remains clean.
Successful collaboration
The introduction of this sustainable way of packaging is the result of an intensive cooperation. The TopClip was technically developed and patented by the packaging company Smurfit Kappa. Arco Berkenbosch - Vice President Innovation and Development at Smurfit Kappa says: 'Grolsch is a zero-waste brewery. Smurfit Kappa seamlessly connects to this with the Better Planet initiative. Grolsch is the ideal partner to be the first to enter the market with this innovative solution. Grolsch's commitment to being the first to launch TopClip shows character. With this launch, Grolsch shows that it dares to take on the challenge of innovation whilst realizing their sustainability ambition. We are proud of the intensive collaboration with both Grolsch and KHS to launch TopClip and are excited to see the Grolsch TopClip multipacks on the shelves soon!'.
The machine was developed by KHS in close consultation with Smurfit Kappa and Grolsch and is the first - and for now only – of its kind in the brewery in Enschede. 'The collaboration between Smurfit Kappa, Grolsch and KHS forms the perfect combination to quickly develop a unique, glue-free and stable carton packaging, which can also be processed on a high-speed machine', says Swen van Kuetsem, Sales Manager KHS Benelux.
The new packaging was already introduced and tested on a small scale at 18 selected PLUS Supermarkets in 2020. Based on this test period, Grolsch, together with its partners, further optimized the packaging. The first packaging will be introduced in stores as of this week, with the Autumn Bock cans being the first. In the coming months, all (plastic) can packaging will gradually be replaced by the new cardboard packaging. 
Sustainable. Character.
Under the heading SUSTAINABLE. CHARACTER. Royal Grolsch has been conducting an active sustainability policy for years, with one of the six focus areas being maximizing circular packaging. Nearly 100% of Grolsch packaging for the Dutch market is recyclable. Grolsch was the first brewer in the world to market a crate for the Kornuit brand made from 100% recycled consumer plastic. Following the switch to 100% recycled can foil in 2019, the introduction of the TopClip packaging is a major step forward in eliminating single-use plastic and maximizing circular packaging.

You can watch the (Dutch) video here.

More information on Grolsch's sustainability policy and results over the past few years can be found at the website.