UK – American multinational packaging company Ball Corporation is building a new aluminium packaging plant in Kettering, the UK in an effort to meet accelerating demand for sustainable beverage materials.

The new facility described as the “largest-ever” beverage packaging plant in the UK is located at Segro Park Kettering Gateway.

The plant will cover 56,000 square metres and will produce approximately 1 billion fully recyclable cans in its first year, generating 200 local jobs.

Carey Causey, president at Ball Beverage Packaging EMEA, said: “As environmental awareness increases, consumers are insisting on more sustainable drinks packaging. 

This new facility, in one of the UK’s best-known manufacturing locations, will help us to support our customers’ growth, creating fully recyclable cans which can play a role in a truly circular economy and support the local community.”

The Kettering facility will be Ball’s third can-making site in the UK, following the opening of the company’s plants in Milton Keynes and Wakefield.

Ball Corp new can policy affects small beer makers

Elsewhere in North America, small beer manufacturers are scrambling to get new can suppliers following Ball Corp’s decision to change its minimum ordering quantity (MOQ) for cans.

The new policy saw MOQ for printed cans rise from one truckload per SKU for printed cans — about 200,000 cans — to five truckloads, or roughly 1 million cans.

That means every beer company desiring to work with Ball would need to make a separate order of 1 million cans for each variety of beer it packages.

Ball also says it will stop offering warehouse space to customers, so breweries that can afford the larger orders are now on their own when it comes to storage.

The supply chain hiccup has sent many regional brewery owners, who can’t meet the new minimum, scrambling for new sources.

Ball Corp is the only manufacturer in the state, so brewers must now look outside of Colorado and this has led others to markets outside the United States.

At the same time, can prices have skyrocketed by more than 62% mostly due to growing consumer demand for to-go drinks and a surge in the cost of raw aluminum.

Some ingredients used to make beer, such as barley and fruit, have also more than doubled in price over the past year.

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