MARIETTA, Ga. - Craft-beer manufacturer Red Hare Brewing Company has begun packaging its brew in an almost entirely recycled-content aluminum can from Novelis Inc., a multi-national aluminum manufacturer. It's a first for the beverage industry.
The brand name for the product is evercan, with a lowercase 'e'. It is certified by Scientific Certification Services as the only aluminum can sheet to contain not less than 90 percent recycled content.
"We're working on the technical performance, the alloy chemistry of the can, as well as continuing to build up our recycling capacity," said Novelis vice president and chief sustainability officer John Gardner. "And in the next few years we will be at 100 percent recycled content."
The unlikely partnership began when Novelis contacted the Marietta, Georgia-based brewer, which is packaged exclusively in cans since the founding of the company in 2011. The brewery's managing partner, Roger Davis, saw it as a perfect fit.
"Sustainability now with a can just sort of slid right into the fabric. It was easy to do ... we've always thought about packaging in cans. Never really considered anything else."
Gardner agrees with the sustainability model and thought introducing the evercan brand to the beverage industry might best be accomplished though a small company with big ideas.
"For our first evercan customer we chose to work with Red Hare, who were small but very fast growing craft-beer producer here in Georgia. They have got a very sustainable outlook."
Thomas Sanders, an aluminum expert with Georgia Tech's School of Materials Science and Engineering also thinks the introduction of a high recycled content beverage can to a small audience makes sense.
"So, I think that it's a first start — you have to begin somewhere — and once people begin to see that it is a profitable way to operate more and more people will get involved."
Sanders said average aluminum beverage cans have between 50-68 percent recycled content.
In addition to Novelis being headquartered in Atlanta, they have a research and development facility in the metro area as well as a recycling plant 80 miles east in Greensboro, Georgia.