Diageo Unveils Paper-Based Bottle for Baileys Irish Cream Liqueur

Diageo, the maker of Johnnie Walker, Don Julio, and Guinness, has announced a significant step towards sustainable packaging by trialing a paper-based bottle for Baileys, the Original Irish Cream Liqueur.

Partnering with PA Consulting, as part of the Bottle Collective with PA and PulPac, Diageo is testing a Dry Molded Fiber bottle composed of 90% paper, featuring a thin plastic liner and a foil seal. This innovative bottle is designed to be recycled in standard paper streams without requiring consumers to separate the plastic liner, simplifying the recycling process.

The trial involves 2,000 Baileys mini bottles (80ml) at the Time Out Festival in Barcelona, Spain, from May 25th to 26th. This marks Diageo’s first consumer-facing test of paper-based bottles, evaluating their journey from the production site in Ireland to consumer interaction and understanding of the bottle’s sustainability features.

Ewan Andrew, Diageo’s President of Global Supply Chain & Procurement and Chief Sustainability Officer, emphasised the company’s commitment to evolving packaging solutions. “When it comes to our packaging, we’re taking an approach of progress over perfection, knowing our packaging will need to evolve along with consumer needs and technological advancements. The consumer is becoming more sustainability savvy and we believe we can meet that need using our design and innovation to bring premium products and more sustainable solutions together.”

Studies indicate that 68% of consumers wish to purchase more sustainably, but only 12% do, hindered by factors such as cost, availability, and confusion. Diageo aims to bridge this gap by developing sustainable and appealing products and enhancing consumer awareness of the sustainability credentials of these products.

To support this initiative, Diageo has implemented organisational frameworks, including an environmental CLAIMS checklist and LCA assessment tools, ensuring clear, science-based communication of sustainability claims.

Jamie Stone, Design and Innovation Expert at PA, said: “We are delighted that the Diageo Baileys Minis are now hitting the consumer market. Dry molded fiber bottles are a huge step forward, setting new standards in the world of more sustainable packaging. But this is only the beginning. PulPac’s dry molded fiber technology has immense potential: not only is it water-saving, energy-efficient and recyclable, but it is also viable at commercial manufacturing speeds and scale. Working with Diageo and other organisations through our Bottle and Blister Pack Collectives has enabled us to pool resources and dramatically accelerate the time to market for this important innovation.”

Beyond Baileys, Diageo is exploring paper packaging for other brands. As a member of the Pulpex consortium, the company continues to develop a paper-based bottle for Johnnie Walker. Additionally, Diageo is testing a spiral-wound paper bottle for Don Papa Rum, designed to eliminate the need for a cardboard gift box.

Diageo is also experimenting with other sustainable packaging formats, such as lightweight glass bottles using a novel coating by EXXERGY and aluminum bottles for Baileys, which are being trialed across European airports and expected to reduce carbon emissions by 44% compared to glass bottles.

These trials are part of Diageo’s broader 10-year ESG action plan, ‘Society 2030: Spirit of Progress,’ which aims to significantly reduce the company’s carbon footprint from packaging, contributing to their overall sustainability goals.