The benefits of canned wine: why we choose alternative packaging for the future of Benjamin Bridge

The benefits of canned wine: why we choose alternative packaging for the future of Benjamin Bridge

At Benjamin Bridge, we’ve always been trailblazers, pushing boundaries and embracing innovations that benefit both our customers and the environment. One significant shift we made in 2018 was the adoption of aluminum cans as an alternative packaging format for our wines. Our decision to use aluminum cans is part of a broader strategy to minimize our environmental impact and aligns with our commitment to sustainability. In this journal entry, we’d like to share why we’ve chosen this path and how it contributes to a greener, more sustainable world.


The Environmental Impact of Glass Bottles

Traditionally, the wine industry has relied heavily on glass bottles. While they have long been the singular standard, their environmental impact cannot be ignored. Glass production is energy-intensive, involving the melting of raw materials at extremely high temperatures, but the most taxing aspect is the weight. Glass bottles are heavy. This heavy bottle is shipped from its production facility (for us, that’s in Germany) to a local port (typically, Halifax) and then transported to our warehouse in the Valley. Once the wine is bottled it may be purchased in person at the winery, or shipped to any one of our retail partners across Canada or international locations. This excess weight contributes to higher emissions during transport, and bottles are moved several times before it reaches the end consumer.  


Recycling glass, while beneficial, is also energy-demanding and not as efficient as one might hope, with a significant portion ending up in landfills. Additionally, the portion of glass that is recycled does not end up where you’d expect. If you’re like us, we once thought that ‘recycling glass’ meant it returned to some factory where it was remelted and formed into new glass bottles. Due to impurities and other technical reasons, it is very difficult to remake glass bottles, and in fact they are mostly crushed down into an aggregate that is added to asphalt for paving roads and parking lots. We remain hopeful this may change in the future!


Why is Glass Still the Standard and Needed? 

You may ask yourself then, why are most wines still sold in heavy glass bottles when the impact on the environment is so clear? And the answer to this is complex, and currently shifting quickly:  

Firstly, looking at consumer trends, until recent years there wasn’t as much scrutiny on transportation emissions as there was on agricultural practices, and therefore no real pressure from buyers on wineries to change formats. For millennia, winemakers have been packaging their wines in glass bottles, so the entire industry has been built for mostly 750ml bottles, from cases, to shelving, to display cases and fridges. However, the current generation's focus is on the climate crisis and we demand transparency and accountability in the products we support. Now there is pressure to change, and with that an industry of alternative wine packaging formats has emerged and is steadily picking up steam. 50 years ago you’d be hard pressed to find an alternative to wine bottles, but now the possibilities are abounding: paper bottles, metal cans, refillable metal growlers, plant-based packages, and sustainable bag-in-a-box solutions. 

Secondly, there is a subtle hidden psychology in very heavy bottles: the wine is perceived as higher quality and is often sold at an expensive price point. Globally in the wine industry, the most expensive wines come in very heavy bottles, suggesting a substance and quality with its heft. Lighter, more ‘eco’ bottles are seen to be of a lesser quality, when in reality it has no bearing on the wine’s quality.


All of this to be said, there are still technical reasons to opt for heavy glass bottles. For instance, you’ll find our traditional method sparklings come in thick punted dark glass. These bottles are purpose built for our style of sparklings and must be stress tested to withstand a considerable amount of pressure from the build up of C02 that defines the wine itself. If the glass were lighter built, or an alternative format, we would risk the wine exploding the vessel and losing our hard work and beautiful wine. 

Additionally, glass is inert, stable, and does not affect the taste of wine in any way and can be stored for decades (even centuries!) in bottles preserving the wine quality, as long as it is kept away from heat and sunlight. Alternative formats use food grade liners to keep the wine from being in direct contact with the material, like aluminum and plastic, as these would leech flavour and substances into the wine. Currently, liners are not stable enough to last for more than 2 years–hence why the wines we put in cans are not our cellar-aged sparklings–so glass is the suitable option for wines that will be aged. 

Given all of these factors, our approach has been to adopt an aluminium format wherever the qualitative and technical parameters of a wine permit. 


The Sustainability of Aluminum Cans

In stark contrast, aluminum cans offer a much more sustainable packaging option. Here’s why:



Aluminum cans are significantly lighter than glass bottles, which means they require less energy to transport and in our warehouse, we can pack more wine on a pallet than with cases of glass bottles. This reduction in weight and volume leads to lower fuel consumption and, consequently, fewer greenhouse gas emissions. This is a crucial factor in reducing our overall carbon footprint.


Aluminum is one of the most recyclable materials available. It can be recycled indefinitely without losing its quality. The recycling process for aluminum uses only about 5% of the energy required to produce new aluminum from raw materials. This makes it an incredibly efficient and eco-friendly option. Moreover, aluminum cans are more likely to be recycled than glass bottles, thanks to well-established recycling programs across Canada. A comprehensive industry mass flow analysis shows that nearly 75% of all aluminum ever produced is still in use today. [1] And that metal is recycled over and over again. When taking your recycling out to the curb, what is easier: a bag of cans or a bag of wine bottles


The combined benefits of lighter transportation loads and efficient recyclability lead to a significant reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. Studies have shown that switching to aluminum cans can cut the carbon footprint of wine packaging by up to 50%.

A 2016 study by ICF International found that greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions related to the transportation and refrigeration of beverages differ significantly based on the type of container. On a per-liter basis, the emissions associated with transporting and cooling beverages in aluminum cans are 7 to 21% lower than those in plastic bottles, and 35 to 49% lower than those in glass bottles. [2]


Beyond Sustainability: Additional Advantages of Alternative Formats


Aluminum cans offer unparalleled convenience and portability as we’ve seen with our canned wines. They are lightweight, shatterproof, and easy to carry, making them perfect for outdoor events, picnics, and casual gatherings. This convenience does not come at the expense of quality, as modern canning technology ensures that our wines stay fresh and flavourful. 


Cans are versatile and can accommodate various wine types and styles. Whether it's sparkling, rosé, a crisp white, or Nova 7, aluminum cans preserve the integrity and flavor of the wine, allowing us to offer a wide range of our favorite selections in this convenient format. As our cans come in a 250ml size, which is exactly ⅓ of a bottle, it is easier than ever to enjoy a single serving, or allow the whole party to choose their own wine without opening too many bottles. 


Feedback from our customers over the years has been overwhelmingly positive, with many of our loyal followers appreciating the convenience and eco-friendliness of our canned wines. More and more wine lovers are prioritizing sustainability in their purchasing decisions. While we do understand that some wine enthusiasts may have reservations about canned wine, we encourage you to try our canned selections and experience the quality for yourself. In fact, many taste tests and expert reviews have confirmed that there is no compromise in quality when it comes to canned wine! 

At Benjamin Bridge Winery, we are proud to embrace aluminum cans and other alternative packaging formats as part of our commitment to sustainability. By making this choice, we are reducing our environmental impact, meeting the evolving preferences of our customers, and ensuring that our wines remain fresh and enjoyable. We invite you to join us on this journey towards a more sustainable future by trying our canned wines and experiencing the benefits firsthand.

Shop our canned wines and alcohol-free alternatives. 



The Aluminum Association, Infinitely Recyclable, The Aluminum Can Advantage,

The Aluminum Association, Key Sustainability Performance Indicators for the Aluminum Can, The Aluminum Can Advantage 

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