Onboard Hospitality winner interview: Garçon Wines
Garçon Wines won Innovation of the Year for its Flat Wine Bottle
Flat Wine Bottle
Q.Tell us a bit about the product, its background, and how it came to market
A. Traditional Bordeaux and Burgundy bottles were invented in the 19th century and have seen little innovation since then. With our eco, flat wine bottles, Garçon Wines are bringing about the simplest yet most significant, relevant and impactful advancement to wine bottles in the last two centuries.
Our flat wine bottles were initially designed to facilitate delivery of single bottles of wine into homes through the average UK letterbox. However, we soon realised that our packaging solution had the capacity to make a greater, positive impact on the sustainability of the wine industry. With our sustainable packaging solutions, we are slashing greenhouse gas emissions and logistics costs across the entirety of the wine supply chain. The innovative shape and use of 100% recycled PET, pre-existing not single-use plastic, means that Garçon Wines’ bottles are 40% spatially smaller and 87% lighter than round, glass bottles of the same volume.
For onboard hospitality in the travel industry, these changes create a product that is fit for purpose on airplanes, trains and ships through saving space in trolleys and light-weighting the product that is carried onboard. In addition, the meaningful reduction in carbon footprint by using this sustainable packaging solution helps contribute to the goal of cutting the impact of transport in the travel industry on global warming.
Q.What do you think puts your product ahead of others in the same field?
A. The wine industry is experiencing strong growth in alternative packaging formats such as pouch, bag-in-box and can. Our product offers the functional and sustainable benefits of these alternative formats whilst retaining the emotional and experiential of an attractive round, glass bottle. In addition, we consider our product to be an advancement of the 19th century bottle which importantly still looks like a wine bottle. In our view, this is fundamental, as we believe that in order to stand the best chance of becoming the dominant primary packaging in wine, ahead of other products in the same field, our product has to retain the emotional connection of drinking wine served from an appealing bottle, which is often ignored by alternative packaging.
Q.What need or onboard trend does the product address?
A. Our product responds to the need to find sustainable solutions that are able to slash carbon footprint, but importantly are also cost-effective and scalable. At 63g, our bottles are 87% lighter than heavy, glass wine bottles of the same volume which are still often the vessel of choice, significantly reducing the weight of the cart. However, unlike a round, PET bottle, the innovative, flat shape means that they still retain the premium look and feel that is needed for serving in certain situations. The flat shape also offers unbeatable space saving to fit more efficiently into small spaces like catering galleys or service trolleys.
Lightweight, flat bottles do not just address environmental and economic needs; they also enhance the passenger experience. By being able to stock more wine in the trolley, fewer trips back to the galley to restock are needed, allowing for faster service at the seats. The additional space also gives the option to offer a greater selection of wines to enhance passengers’ experience.
We cannot overlook the fact that onboard consumption is just the final stage of the product’s journey. One California study shows that in the life cycle of a bottle of wine from grape to glass, 51% of carbon emissions are generated through packaging and transportation; glass bottles alone make up 29% of this figure and are the single largest contributor. So, before the wine even arrives onboard, there are significant sustainability benefits from using our bottles.
Q.What is next for Garçon Wines?
A. Garçon Wines have numerous ongoing discussions with global flag-carrier airlines and cruise ships in the US and Asia, so wines bottled in our unique packaging format for onboard consumption are on the horizon in 2020. However, the game-changing benefits of our sustainable packaging solution extend beyond onboard consumption to global travel retail, ecommerce, supermarkets, events and hospitality. We have an unbeatable opportunity to make a real, immediate, positive impact on our planet’s health, in turn creating a wealthier industry and happier consumers, and we are doing all that we can, in as many channels and countries as we can, to ensure that our eco, flat bottles become the dominant primary packaging for wine. We are also at the final stages of activating a multi-channel, multi-country opportunity with one of the top 10 largest wine producers in the world. Further international expansion will first be to markets in Scandinavia and the USA, with Australia and more to follow soon after.
Q.What impact will winning an Onboard Hospitality Award have on your business?
A. The awareness and credibility generated from having this prestigious accolade from a well-respected, industry-wide-recognised publication will allow us to showcase the benefits that lightweight and spatially efficient bottles have in the onboard setting even more strongly to key decision makers. Wine is a uniquely engaging product which we can use as a platform to encourage discussions about how simple advancements can have significant benefits for sustainability performance. We are hopeful that the Innovation of the Year Award will make airlines, trains and ships reconsider the assumption that wine bottles should be round, glass vessels, and inspire action to serve their wine in a more sustainable way so that passengers can drink to the health of our planet.