Czech Republic: Gambrinus first brewery to ban PET plastic bottles

Gambrinus brewery, part of Plzeňský Prazdroj Group and thus a subsidiary of Asahi Group Holdings, is the first brewery in the Czech Republic to totally ban plastic bottles. The company decided to stop using plastic bottles as of January 1st 2020 “due to extensive pollution” and with respect to the environment.

“Gambrinus has decided to go the way of common sense and stop producing more plastic where it is not needed. We also respond to the wishes of our consumers, for whom not only the quality of the product is important, but also what we make packaging from,” says Plzeňský Prazdroj’s marketing director Roman Trzaskalik. The company will also start using only 100% recycled plastic film for packing cans.

“Overall, Gambrinus will reduce plastic production by more than 330 tonnes in 2020 alone, which is about 14 fully loaded trucks,” says Trzaskalik. The company hopes to support a stronger Czech beer culture encouraging a return to enjoying beer from barrels and tanks in a pub setting.

Gambrinus introduced PET plastic bottles 7 years ago in a time when people did not have the same focus on environment as today. This type of packaging currently accounts for 5% of all Gambrinus beer sales. Another 15% of Gambrinus beers are sold in cans, and the rest is equally split between glass bottles and kegs/tanks.

Gambrinus is brewed at the Pilsner Urquell Brewery and is one of the most popular beers in the Czech Republic.

In 2018, 12% of all beer in the Czech Republic was sold in PET bottles but the trend shows clearly downwards. Breweries and other consumer goods companies not only in the Czech Republic face strong headwinds from consumers urging them to remove plastic packaging.

Carlsberg, Diageo and other global drinks producers already announced to reduce PET and plastic wherever it is possible. The same is true for food and beverage giants Nestlé and Danone that have launched in June a new plastics credit scheme together with packaging specialist Tetra Pak and waste management company Veolia in order to reduce, recover, and recycle plastic in packaging (, 11.6.2019).

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