Besides offering unique craft beers like “Confused Sea Cow,” “Screamin’ Reels,” and “The Salty Buddha,” a small, Florida-based craft brewery is offering a unique innovation to a global concern.
Well known for its passion for marine life and the sea, Saltwater Brewery, in partnership with WeBelievers, has developed a six-pack ring that isn’t just biodegradable and compostable, it’s also edible.
Our Q&A with WeBelievers:
1. Where did the idea to produce the rings come from?
A few months ago we were working on a production shoot on the beach. After eating lunch one of those days on set Gustavo Lauria, our Chief Creative Officer and Co-Founder of We Believers noticed how much trash and plastic we had managed to accumulate from that one meal.
We thought that perhaps it would be a good idea to come up with a campaign to create some awareness on the issue, but after some back and forth we decided to create a product that would tackle a big issue facing our marine life today and it was plastic six pack rings that end up in our beaches and the ocean.
2. How long did it take to develop them?
After about 2.5 months of design rounds, variations in raw material mix and stress tests, we had our first batch.
3. You’re hoping other breweries will jump on board — what are you doing to make this possible?
That’s the goal! Given the initial reaction and prototype performance, we have now initiated manufacturing of our aluminum and inox steel machined mold which will allow a production of 400,000 Edible Six Pack Rings per month. Enough for the current monthly production of Saltwater Brewery Cans. If most craft brewers and big beer companies implement this technology, the manufacturing cost will drop and be very competitive compared with the current plastic solution while saving hundreds of thousands of marine lives as a result.
4. Is the technology cost-prohibitive for breweries now?
To give you an idea of how little this adds to the overall cost. We estimate that the initial mass-produced batch of Edible Six Pack Rings will have a cost between 10 and 15 cents (USD) per unit. Considering craft breweries are commanding a premium price well above 10 dollars per Six Pack, shaving off less than 25 cents from their margins to have a package that truly goes away sounds like the right thing to do. Consumers are more than willing to pay for this.
5. Can humans eat it? (Sorry, we have to ask!)
WE have all tried it, it pretty much tastes like cardboard… However we don’t recommend it for human consumption.
6. Are you already selling beer with the new rings?
Not yet. During the month of April we launched at a couple of local events starting with the Saltwater Brewery Beer Garden and nearby points of purchase.
7. What is your goal for the rings now that they have been developed?
The goal right now is to enter the next phase of production with the new machine. We know, this is only the beginning, the material we are in the process of patenting together with a small startup of young engineers in Mexico has the potential to impact the CPG and Food and Beverage Industries. Saving hundreds of thousands of marine lives as a result.
For brands to be successful today, it is no longer about being the best IN the world. But rather, being the best FOR the world and take a real stance.
Concern surrounding 6-pack carrier entanglement in wildlife was perhaps most widespread in the 1970s, when images and videos started to depict the grave danger plastics posed, particularly to marine life. Since then, work has been done to curb that impact, with the majority of rings produced now meeting photodegradable requirements. Still, information from the Ocean Conservancy’s 2011 International Coastal Cleanup showed entanglement still exist, with 1% of the total entanglements due to six-pack holders. And in 2012, the Coastal Cleanup volunteers reported finding nearly 39,000 six-pack rings.