Canadian Packaging

Canned Scottish whiskey coming to U.S.

Scottish distiller's efforts at marketing a canned whiskey called absurd - but it has a packaging answer.


January 24, 2012
by Canadian Packaging Staff

A Scottish distiller’s plans to bring a 12-ounce (354 ml) whiskey in a can has been met with derision in the United Kingdom, despite its plan to market it to the U.S.

The main problem, according to Alcohol Concerns, the UK’s national agency on alcohol misuse is that even though it is not for sale in the UK, the can is non-resealable prompting concerns it will force consumers to drink it in one go rather than waste the $5 can.

Ken Rubenfeld, vice-president of Scottish Spirits Imports, which plans to bring the canned whiskey to the U.S. by February 1, 2012, recently told the Huffington Post: “We want people to be responsible. This is a 12 fluid ounces of Scottish whiskey and people should treat it as such.”

Twelve fluid ounces is considered to be eight shots of whiskey. And, despite the large amount of straight whiskey in the can, it is not the first release for this product, as Scottish Spirits had successfully tested the waters with the canned whiskey in the Caribbean and South America in 2011.

According to Scottish Spirits, its Single Grain Scotch Whisky is a blend of malt and grain with honey, vanilla, apples, butterscotch and pears, with a hint of peat and smoke. The whiskey is distilled and matured in Scotland for a minimum of three years in oak casks.

The beverage contains 40 per cent alcohol by volume and 80 per cent proof, and is packaged in a 100 per cent recyclable aluminum can with a special liner to keep the product’s taste integrity intact.

As for concerns that the consumer will abuse the large amount of alcohol beverage within the can, Scottish Spirits did note it is not supposed to be a one-serving beverage, and that it is supposed to be shared by three people – without the need of a heavy glass bottle or the need to worry about glass breakage.

But that’s not a good enough explanation for Alcohol Concern, stating: “It is absurd to sell eight shots of spirits in a container that can not be resealed, meaning that the product must be consumed in one go, or be wasted.

“A can offers no advantage for consumers over the smaller bottle sizes which are readily available, and it certainly isn’t more convenient. The only purpose for such packaging is as a sales gimmick.”

According to the Portman Group, a nine-member U.K. body that enforces a voluntary code of practice—featuring AB InBev, Bacardi Brown-Forman Brands, Beverage Brands (UK), C&G Group, Carlsberg UK, Diageo GB, Heineken UK, Molson Coors UK and Pernod Richard UK—it enforces strict rules to ensure alcohol is marketed responsibly and that producers are encouraged to contact the group to ensure it does not encourage irresponsible or immoderate consumption.

Of course…the Portman Group only holds sway in the U.K…. and Scottish Spirits does not currently offer its canned whiskey for sale in the U.K.

However, in an effort to avoid the same flack from the U.S. that it is receiving in the U.K. for a product not marketed there, Scottish Spirits has come up with a solution. Scottish Spirits very recently conceived of a plan to introduce a re-sealable latex cap for the canned whiskey. The latex lid produced especially for Scottish Spirits, will allow the can to be resealed and the product to be kept fresh and tasting great.

Scottish Spirits is also available in glass bottles.