Back to Newsroom

March 31, 2023

The future of beer multipacks

The future of beer multipacks

Something we hear all of the time is that “The days are numbered for that plastic ring that is used to keep your six pack of beer together” – most recently, in a post on LinkedIn.

The trend, according to this post, is towards board-based alternatives, citing examples that use a full box for the packaging of multipacks.

 Yet the reality is more nuanced and complex. Even in the comments to the original post, there is much debate and little consensus.

 In this blog, we explore the future of beer multipacks by looking at the different technologies available.

 No carriers

 As reported in Beverage Daily, one option is simply to remove carriers entirely. The idea instead is that consumers select individual cans which are priced at the same cost as if they were part of a multipack.

 The stated intent is to remove the need for plastic, but clearly this strategy overlooks the reason why the can carrier was there in the first place: convenience. It’s not easy juggling multiple individual cans! There’s a good reason why multipacks are proven to increase sales.

 Cardboard – full box

 Some brands are making an explicit point about swapping out plastic carriers for other materials, with a growing trend towards housing multipacks in a full cardboard box.

 Card certainly has a more positive perception amongst the public than plastic, largely because its recycling is more widespread. However, there are challenges: for example, many paper mills are reaching capacity, while tree planting initiatives are falling behind demand to create the raw materials necessary for board manufacturing. In this sense, the move towards full-surround multipack boxes is wasteful.

 One of the advantages of using a can carrier is that it minimises the amount of material required to connect and carry multiple products. With a full box, this potential is lost – as well as the opportunity to showcase eye-catching can designs on shelf.

 Cardboard can carriers

 There is an obvious answer for those brands who prefer card to plastic – which is to use card carriers.

 WaveGrip’s 6-pack cardboard can carrier weighs in at under 7 grams, considerably lighter than fully enclosed boxes and other alternatives.

 As well as being lightweight, cardboard can carriers are manufactured using responsibly sourced, FSC-compliant forests and are curb-side recyclable.

 Recycled plastic can carriers

 And let’s not forget that plastic can carriers still have a place – especially as the amount of recycled content is increased, and recycling infrastructure continues to improve.

 WaveGrip’s can carriers are made with 52.5% recycled plastic and are recyclable with PE film collections where available. They can also be recycled in store that have recycle points for plastic bags.

 Using recycled content can significantly reduce the carbon footprint involved in the manufacture of new card carriers. This goes together with the historic advantages of plastic can carriers. They use minimum material and are lightweight yet strong.

 They are also an inexpensive option, making them ideal for start-ups and craft beer brands.

 A healthy future

 In short, there are still plenty of options when it comes to the future of beer multipacks – and this doesn’t even include the potential for using biobased polymers in the future. If you want to know more about either recycled plastic can carriers, or cardboard can carriers, please contact WaveGrip today.


Our team is happy to answer your questions. Leave us a message and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible.

*Required for details, read our Privacy and Cookies Policy.