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“We were involved right at the beginning to design and develop suitable packaging, which not only had to accommodate Brewhive’s speciality bottled beers, it also had to cater for the transportation of drinking glasses aswell.” Ryan Bisland, Account Manager at Antalis Packaging.

When Kevin Dorren and Andrew Veitch saw a niche in the market to provide a small range of premium, carefully crafted and distinctively flavoured beers for the discerning food lover, Brewhive became a reality.

The challenge for their latest online venture however was how to transport glass bottles and fragile beer glasses to consumers in the most cost effective manner while offering the highest levels of protection. Working with Antalis Packaging to design and develop specialist cartons, Brewhive now has the solution, offering outstanding protection at reduced costs and with minimum waste.

Launched in August 2015, Brewhive’s USP lies in the sourcing, provenance and selection of ingredients that are carefully mixed to give each beer its unique recipe and distinctive taste. Equally important is the safe, secure and cost efficient delivery of the bottles to its end-consumer target audience.

Explains Anna Roper, Marketing Manager at Brewhive: “our main target audience are consumers that are looking for an alternative beverage to enjoy and savour at home and as an accompaniment to the food they are eating, rather than selling to the retail or catering markets. Therefore, the selection, mix and creation of individual recipes for our beers is vital to Brewhive’s unique product offering.”

With its heritage in ecommerce, Brewhive has engaged the services of external expert suppliers to ensure the overall experience of product, service and delivery matches consumer’s expectations. While recipe development and brewing is the domain of highly trained master brewers, the development of suitable packaging for the glass-bottled beverages lies with the expert development team at Antalis Packaging.

Roper continues: “With customer loyalty being so easily and negatively affected when receiving damaged or broken goods, this was a key priority for us when looking for a packaging solution. Equally vital however, was how we could maintain the high levels of protection needed to transport glass-based products while keeping costs and material wastage to a minimum.”

Having worked with Brewhive’s sister businesses, The Fine Coffee Club and Diet Chef, the Antalis Packaging team already had a well-established working relationship with the organisation, and understood there was no ‘on the shelf’ solution to Brewhive’s requirements.

Ryan Bisland, Account Manager at Antalis Packaging was in charge of the Antalis Packaging team. “We were involved right at the beginning to design and develop suitable packaging, which not only had to accommodate Brewhive’s speciality bottled beers, it also had to cater for the transportation of drinking glasses aswell.”

Bisland continues, “Unlike the usual online retailers of premium branded wines, each of Brewhive’s bottled beers have a much lower unit price. Our biggest challenge therefore was how to successfully devise a carton that would provide maximum protection at the lowest possible cost.”

The brief from Brewhive also needed to address the impact and ease of consumer handling and disposal of the protective packaging. Having considered all void-fill solutions, from cushioning, suspension, air-pack products, foam and even chemical mouldings, Antalis Packaging finally opted for a carton made from corrugated board that could easily be recycled in domestic environments.

Initially, the boxes comprised two cardboard inserts to ‘suspend’ the bottles and hold them in place to protect against damage; one at the bottom and one at the top to provide air space around each bottle and keep them secure. The boxes, while quite large in size, provided excellent protection and addressed the need for consumer recyclability.

Brewhive started by offering orders ranging from 6 to 24 bottles per order. However, after the first few months of trading, it saw the emergence of a new and distinct purchasing pattern amongst their customer base, which provided the opportunity for them to revisit their minimum sales orders and adapt their packaging requirements to cater for this new offering.

“Through the various tests and process we had undertaken during the initial design phase, we were confident that corrugated cardboard was the right substrate to use. We therefore set out to review the outer carton and develop and test ways in which we could reduce the size without compromising on protection levels,” explains Bisland.

The result, was the introduction of a revised outer case carton that was significantly reduced in size, yet designed to give the flexibility of catering for orders of either 12 or 24 bottles. In addition, the new solution means that Brewhive is now spending less on packaging materials and less on postage costs, without compromising the integrity of their bottled beers and glasses.”

“We’re delighted with the outcome which has resulted in a 50% reduction in consumables costs for Brewhive by introducing the new cartons,” says Roper. “This has not only delivered considerable cost savings for us as a business, it has enabled us to pass on this saving to our customers in the form of more product promotions.”

“From the very start, Antalis Packaging understood our business needs for a low cost, high protection solution. They have continued to be extremely responsive and adaptable to our constantly changing business model delivering ever more beneficial packaging solutions in response to our changing demands. What’s more, our courier company is also highly impressed, and have reported much fewer breakages thanks to the superiority of the Brewhive packaging.”