Message in a bottle
You put your heart and soul into creating the perfect wine or spirit and now it’s time to bottle and label it. You’ve considered color, shape, style, and size, but which bottle supplier should you use?
For most wineries and distilleries, cost will be a deciding factor. With customers that increasingly want a high quality product at a low price, packaging seems like a natural place to reduce costs.
Pros and Cons of Imported Glass Bottles
Imported Chinese glass is less expensive, and it is lightweight, further saving on shipping costs. However, there are important factors to consider when deciding on Chinese glass. Chinese glass is made in haste to get a quick profit; fast mass production results in a low cost per unit. Unfortunately, that also means it is weaker, easier to break, and prone to defects that spotty quality control is not concerned with. Glass bottles that are not well manufactured can be inconsistently formed or asymmetrical, causing unforeseen problems with bottling and labeling.
Hidden Costs in Chinese Glass
Most companies will ultimately participate in an auto-fill and auto-application process. This means running the bottles through a machine to fill it with product and apply the labels. Flaws and inconsistencies in the bottles can impede or even stop this process. The machine will be set up to match the bottle specifications, and inconsistencies such as crooked necks, chips, or indents can slow down the machine. When people have to intervene to remove defective bottles to prevent bottle or even machine breakage, cost is increased in lost time and lost bottles.
Another consideration is label application. Flawed bottles can result in crooked, wrinkled, or bubbled labels; things like depressions and pronounced seams on cheap glass bottles can cause labels to fail. When creating a label, an important factor is the taper of the bottle. The amount of taper on the neck of the bottle must be measured carefully and the label shape determined accordingly, otherwise it will not lie flat. If you have a set of bottles with inadvertent differences in their taper, the labels will not all adhere smoothly and bulging along the edges can occur.
So you may have saved in the initial cost of your bottle, but now you need new bottles and new labels because so many were wasted. This can be devastating to industries with a perishable product that needs to be packaged within a strict deadline. Chinese glass suppliers are in China; this means unpredictable shipping times and hard to reach or nonexistent customer service.
Alternative to Chinese Glass
Environmentally friendly bottles are an alternative to Chinese glass. Glass is already 100% recyclable and lightweight bottles can save in the amount of glass used, production emissions and energy, and shipping costs. Plus, it’s an important factor in the purchase decision for many consumers. An environmental bottle can cut costs and increase your customer base. Chinese glass is lightweight; but the difference in quality is critical.
The final cost-benefit analysis is up to you, but we want to be sure you make well-informed packaging decisions. Your bottle is the first thing customers will see, and the look and feel of your packaging indicates the quality of the product within. Do your research and talk to your supplier, bottler, and label manufacturer. If you decide to use lower quality imported glass, be sure to inform your label supplier. There are some steps that can be taken to reduce label application issues if we know about the risk ahead of time. We can use a heavier label material or a more aggressive adhesive. Keep in mind that these options may be more expensive, and be sure to weigh the increased labeling costs against the perceived savings of using lower quality imported glass.
Settled on a reliable bottle supplier? Improve your label packaging by downloading a free guide for wine or spirits labels today: