The new technology repurposes surplus barley straw into six-pack packaging material in a circular process.
Corona launched a new, circular form of packaging for six-packs — harnessing surplus barley straw to create a sustainable paper packaging solution. Barley seed will continue to make the beer, but barley straw, a leftover from farmers' harvests, will now be used through a unique pulping process built to handle its relative fragility.
Corona is reportedly the first global brand to leverage technology and processes three years in development by AB InBev’s Global Innovation and Technology Center (GITEC). This technology reimagines how to use barley, giving the essential beer ingredient new life as a sustainable packaging solution. Combined with 100% recycled wood fibers, this process creates a paperboard to produce new packaging that is as strong and durable as a regular six-pack, but better for the planet — able to carry six beer bottles using far fewer resources along the way.
Turning barley straw into paper fiber uses 90% less water in its production than the traditional virgin wood process, along with less energy and fewer harsh chemicals. Using leftover barley straw is also far more productive than the equivalent area of woodland, and Corona sees this as one path forward to eliminate the need for virgin trees and raw material from its supply chain in the future.
The new packaging launched with an initial 10,000 six-packs rolling out as a pilot in Colombia in March, and that will be followed later in 2021 by Argentina as Corona looks to scale the new solution globally.