Packaging Machinery for Distilled Spirits - An Overview

Many distilled spirits share common traits when it comes to packaging. Both 375 and 750 ml bottles are popular in the industry, as well as cork or T-cork closures. As a result, a number of popular packaging machines will recur from project to project in the industry. Still, there are always exceptions to the norm, and some in the distilled spirits industry will use unique packaging to market and stand out from the competition. Below is a brief description of the most popular packaging machinery for packaging distilled spirits, with a few examples of unique solutions as well.

RINSING MACHINERY

Rinsing machines for the distilled spirits industry will typically invert bottles over a rinse basin, then complete the rinse with either a liquid or a blast of clean air. Some distillers choose to remove dust and debris with product, while others prefer the air rinse solution. One big benefit of an air rinse is the lack of waste product from the rinse. On rare occasions, bottles or other containers may take on a unique shape or size, which can lead to issues when inverting the containers. In these cases, a distillery may choose to use a bottle vacuum rather than the inversion technique. In either case, bottle rinsers are a popular piece of equipment in the distilled spirits industry, to ensure that products are not contaminated by debris from the manufacture of the bottle, transport of the bottle, storage or other cause.

FILLING MACHINERY

In almost all cases, distilled spirits are pretty free-flowing products, or water-like in viscosity. For this reason, one of two machines will almost always be used by those packaging spirits. The first of these machines, a gravity filler, uses a volumetric fill to move product in to bottles. The other popular liquid filler for distillers is an overflow filling machine, which uses a fill to level principle to move the spirits in to the bottle. Though not volumetric, the overflow filler adds aesthetic value to spirits that are packaged in clear or nearly-clear containers. Given the predominance of clear bottles in the industry, overflow filling machines seem to be the more popular choice of the two.

CAPPING AND SEALING MACHINERY

As noted above, many distilled spirits will use a cork-like closure to seal bottles. However, other closure types are also used, such as threaded screw-on caps, ROPP caps and others. The type of capping machine used for any project will depend on the type of closure being used for the bottles. In addition, many spirits will include a neck band or capsule along with the actual cap or closure. For these reasons, the capping and sealing machinery seen in the industry will vary more than the rinsing or filling machines, with each project being matched to the ideal combination of machines.

LABELING EQUIPMENT

Like the capping and sealing machinery, labeling equipment will vary a little more than rinsers or fillers. The type of labeler used for any project will depend on what type of label is applied. Some may use wrap labels, while others may apply front and back stickers or even neck or top labels. Again, each distilled spirits packaging system will be matched to a labeling machine that best suits the project at hand.

Of course, other equipment may be found on a packaging line for distilled spirits, including coding machines, power conveyors, loading and unloading equipment and more. Packaging machinery for distilled spirits can also be manufactured as automatic or semi-automatic equipment, including tabletop systems for distillers with limited space for preparing product. Packaging Specialists at Liquid Packaging Solutions are always available to analyze projects with distillers to help find the ideal solution to match the product and production to create the best packaging system for the situation.