Beer Drinkers Can Help Save the Ocean With Edible Six-Pack Rings

Saltwater Brewery and We Believers Innovate to Reduce Discarded Plastic

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Half of the 6.3 billion gallons of beer drunk by Americans every year is sold in cans, often packaged in six-packs held together by plastic rings. That plastic is then discarded and ends up in the ocean, where wildlife can be strangled by the rings or, more commonly, eat the plastic and then starve to death as their digestive systems are clogged.

What if those six-pack rings were edible? Working with Saltwater Brewery, a Florida craft beer brand targeting surfers, fishermen and ocean lovers, New York-based small agency We Believers developed edible six-pack rings, made from wheat and barley. They are safe for wildlife to eat, and sturdy enough to support the weight and handling of the cans.

"It shows that through innovation the little guys can point the finger at governments and big business to motivate change that impacts our world and the one we will leave for our children," said Gustavo Lauria, We Believer's founder and CCO.

Mr. Lauria said five 3D printer-generated molds were used to manufacture the first batch of 500 edible and biodegradable six-pack rings for Saltwater Brewery's main brand IPA. In April the new packaging was introduced at local events and venues, including the Saltwater Brewery Beer Garden and nearby points of purchase. Consumers were able to see that the new design was as strong as the environmentally harmful plastic rings, and some people couldn't resist taking a bite out of the edible rings.

Working with engineers at a small startup in Mexico, the idea is to produce 400,000 edible six-pack rings per month, enough for the current monthly production of Saltwater Brewery. That first mass-produced batch will cost between 10 and 15 cents per unit, for craft beer that costs more than $10 for a six-pack, Mr. Lauria said.

"If most craft breweries 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," he said.

This sounds like an idea other brewers and soda giants should consider making part of their packaging as well.

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May 06, 2016
We Believers
Chief Creative Officer:
Gustavo Lauria
Saltwater Brewery
Executive Creative Director:
Patricio Elfi
Creative Director:
Santiago Luna Lupo
Gustavo Lauría
Santiago Luna Lupo
Art Director:
Patricio Elfi
Agency Producer:
Adriana Correa
Head of Planning:
Marco Vega
Head of Client Services:
José Quijano
Account Supervisor:
Juliana Patiño
Agency Coordinator:
Lupita Alvarez
Product Development:
Entelequia Sustainable Development
Head of Development:
Koji Joshina
Product Designer:
Koji Joshina
Product Designer:
Federico Varone
Production Company:
Cherry Sundae Media
Nelson Cabrera
Director of Photography:
Nelson Cabrera
Executive Producer:
Graciella Creazzo
Music and Sound Effects:
Personal Music/Alexis Estiz
Music and Sound Effects:
Alexis Estiz
Music and Sound Effects:
Luis Gomez
Diego Panich
Post Production Online:
Moving Forward Studios

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