UK contract wine packer Greencroft Bottling and Ardagh Group Metal Beverage Europe have partnered to launch the first wine canning line.

Installed with an investment of over £2m ($2.5m) at Greencroft Bottling in County Durham, the new line is designed to fill 17,000 cans an hour. It also offers still and carbonated filling for wine, soft drinks and ready-to drinks (RTDs).

Initially, the partners will focus on 200ml and 250ml slimline cans in the facility.

The new line can handle Ardagh’s new 187ml wine can format.

Ardagh has offered technical support during the new line commissioning and establishing process. It has also provided criteria for wine compatibility testing.

Greencroft Bottling managing director Mark Satchwell said: “We constantly invest in our equipment to guarantee we are offering the best service possible to our customers and ensure we have the correct technology in place to meet future market demands.

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“The can is a format consumers are already familiar with, through soft drinks, beers and ciders, and right now canned wine consumption is growing at a rate of approximately 6% year-on-year in Western Europe. So we were pleased to collaborate with Ardagh to set up a dedicated wine canning line and be the first to provide for this growing market.”

Greencroft Bottling’s sister company Lanchester Wines is one of the first customers to use the new facility.

Apart from the KHS Innofill Can C filler, the facility also features 21 valves and a three-head ferrum seamer, compact monoblock, and valve manifold, which is integrated into the frame for a compact design.

As a part of its commitment to renewable energy, Greencroft uses wind turbines to power its bottling lines. The aluminium cans are also sustainable.