While there has been plenty of packaging innovation in the global beer business over the last several years, the humble beer-bottle cap had remained basically unchanged since the introduction of twist-off caps way back in 1984.
At least until this past summer, when the Creston, B.C.-based Columbia Brewery of the Labatt Brewing Company has launched the Glacier Seal oxygen-absorbing cap liner on the bottled beers of its flagship Kokanee beer—designed to allow the beer to maintain its freshness longer by reducing the beer’s exposure to oxygen.
“Oxygen is the Number One enemy for beer,” says Scott Stokes, the Columbia Brewery brewmaster. “When beer is exposed to oxygen for an extended period, like in a bottle, it results in flavor changes that ultimately make the beer taste stale.“The new Glacier Seal cap means Kokanee will now taste fresher.”
According to the Kokanee brand marketing manager Mike Bascom, the brewery’s extensive tests of samples of bottled beer found that the oxygen levels for Kokanee capped with the new Glacier Seal registered below five parts per billion (ppb) total package oxygen per bottle—compared to the average of around 55-ppb total package oxygen per bottle for beer without the new cap liner.
“The Glacier Seal Cap is an example of our absolute dedication to ensuring that Kokanee stays as fresh as possible until you drink it,” says Bascom. “The Glacier Seal essentially locks more oxygen out of the beer bottle and keeps Kokanee’s Glacier Fresh taste in.”
Bascom explains that the Glacier Seal Cap contains an oxygen-absorbing liner incorporating special active ingredients— anti-oxidants commonly used in the food-and-beverage industry—that react with oxygen as it migrates through the liner to reducing oxygen exposure and protect the beer’s flavor.