Aluminum is In

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Aluminum is In

NEW YORK -- Coca-Cola is joining Budweiser, PepsiCo and a small handful of other beverage makers who are embracing a cutting edge form of packaging -- aluminum bottles.

The cola giant will begin testing Coke and Coke Zero products in the bottles next year. The new bottles will first be seeded at high-profile events and clubs in such markets as Atlanta and Philadelphia, according to a report by Brandweek. Coca-Cola also launched its new Caribou Coffee line in 12-ounce Alumi-Tek bottles in August.

Aluminum bottles offer enhanced graphic capabilities and the ability to keep beverages colder longer, albeit at a cost. They cost roughly three times that of glass, the report stated.

Meanwhile, PepsiCo's Mountain Dew will splash six new designs on its Green Label Art series of aluminum bottles beginning Jan. 28. Created by contemporary artists, the limited-edition bottles will be available at retail for the first time. In May, Mountain Dew became the first U.S. carbonated soft drink packaged in an aluminum bottle. The original 12 designs were only available at events and through sweepstakes and influencer mailings.

"We got such a great response on the Web site, blogs, at events and in the media that we felt we were onto something big and powerful," Marisol Tamaro, senior marketing manager for PepsiCo-owned Mountain Dew, told Brandweek.

Next week, will begin a countdown until the launch of the new designs. A 16-ounce bottle will cost $1.99 vs. $1.19 for a regular 20-ounce plastic bottle. The new bottles (several hundred thousands of which will be offered) will be touted online, via wild postings and print advertising, according to the report.

A second set of six limited edition bottles will be available at retail in August 2008.

Budweiser is credited for being the first company to offer aluminum bottle products en masse in America in 2005. Budweiser, Bud Light and Michelob Ultra are among the A-B brands to launch in the "bottlecan."

"Our consumers are always looking for new products and innovation from Anheuser-Busch, [and] the aluminum bottle allowed us to deliver that," said Keith Levy, vice president of brand management at A-B in St. Louis. Additionally, he noted that sales of beer in the aluminum bottles spiked 33 percent in 2007.

Other companies are starting to make the investment as well. Miller Chill will be available in an aluminum bottle in the spring. Dos Equis has one in Mexico, and there are several energy drink projects being looked at very hard, the report stated.