Nine-packs of Miller Lite in lightweight aluminum bottles are being tested in 19 states through the end of the year. Source: Ball Corp.

Light weighting of the aluminum bottle may be the advancement that moves the container out of the novelty category and into the mainstream. At least, that’s what Ball Corp. is hoping.

MillerCoors is testing a nine-pack of 16-oz. aluminum bottles in 19 states, with a national rollout eyed for April. “This package drinks like a bottle and cools like a can to deliver an invigorating taste experience,” boasts Grant Leech, vice president-marketing for Miller Lite in Milwaukee. Different price points are being tested.

Instead of impact-extruded technology, the Ball Corp. containers use the same drawn and ironed technique as conventional two-piece aluminum cans, according to Ball Spokesperson Jennifer Hoover. Caribou Coffee launched a 12-oz. version of Ball’s Alumi-Tek container in August 2007, and two more merchandisers will release products in the resealable bottle in 2009. “We’re definitely seeing interest in it,” says Hoover.

The 16-oz. Alumi-Tek weighs 23.3 grams, compared to 53.9g for a comparably sized impact-extruded aluminum container. Instead of a conventional metal crown, the container has a 3.2g resealable cap measuring 38mm.

The containers are produced at Ball’s Monticello, IN plant via the same two-piece process used for conventional aluminum cans. Filling began at MillerCoors’ Eden, NC bottling plant after considerable retooling.

For more information:
Jennifer Hoover, Ball Corp., 303-460-5541,