Carlsberg Marston’s Brewing Company invests £10m+ in Northampton Brewery to boost sustainability and expand Snap Pack

CMBC today announced it is to invest more than £10m in upgrading equipment at its Northampton Brewery, further increasing capacity for producing its innovative Snap Pack packaging and reducing its water usage.

The investments will see three significant upgrades realised, with all three set to go live in Q1 next year; a second-generation machine for packaging cans in Snap Pack is being installed, alongside a new laser can encoder and an improved can filler and seamer.

Snap Pack

First launched in 2018, Snap Pack uses innovative glue dot technology to hold cans together, removing the need for plastic rings and making multipacks more sustainable. Snap Pack was co-developed by Carlsberg Group and KHS GmbH, an international manufacturer of filling and packaging equipment. This ground-breaking technology has been used across some of the best-known and most popular beers in CMBC’s extensive portfolio, including Carlsberg Danish Pilsner, San Miguel, Birrificio Angelo Poretti and Brooklyn Pilsner.

By the end of 2022, Snap Pack was used for 65% of the four- and six-can multipacks produced at the brewery. The new second-generation Snap Pack machine will allow double the number of Snap Pack multipacks to be produced, with the company aiming to fully transition by the end of 2024. By eliminating plastic rings from packaging, once fully rolled out across four- and six-can multipacks it is estimated that Snap Pack will reduce CMBC’s plastic usage by up to 76%, compared to previous multipacks.

Laser Can Coder and Filler & Seamer

The replacement KHS can filler, which will be attached to a new seamer from Ferrum, and a Domino Laser Can Coder are also being installed, bringing a number of improvements across efficiency and safety. Combined, these new machines alone will see an estimated reduction of around 10% in water usage, around 18 million litres every year – equivalent to more than seven Olympic-size swimming pools or almost 32 million pints.  

As part of CMBC’s Together Towards ZERO and Beyond ESG programme, the company has ambitious targets for making progress on a range of sustainability measures. These include halving its use of virgin fossil-based plastics by 2030 under the ZERO Packaging Waste ambition and achieving water usage efficiency of 2.0hl per hl of beer at every brewery by 2030 to achieve ZERO Water Waste. This investment will see CMBC make good progress against these targets, with further work set to take place across CMBC’s network in the coming years.   

Paul Davies, CEO, CMBC, said: “We take our responsibility as a brewer very seriously and ensuring we reduce our impact on the planet is a hugely important part of this. This major investment of more than £10m in Northampton demonstrates our clear commitments to eliminating packaging waste, reducing water waste, and improving efficiency at our breweries.

“By taking ambitious action now, we can deliver on our sustainability goals and enable even more of our innovative Snap Pack multipacks to make their way to consumers.”

CMBC’s flagship Carlsberg brand has been working with WWF since 2021 to support projects and engage consumers in the UK on environmental and sustainability issues. Claudia Codsi, Director of Partnerships, WWF, said: “The food and drinks industry fundamentally depends on a healthy planet with a stable climate, so businesses across the sector should all be playing their part in accelerating the transition to a net zero economy that works in harmony with nature.

"We’re proud to be working with Carlsberg to bring environmental issues to life for UK beer drinkers and welcome these latest efforts from CMBC to reduce the footprint of their products and packaging.”

Edgar-George Petsche, Executive Vice President of Market Zone Europe/CIS at KHS, said: “Energy-efficient machinery and equipment as well as safe and environmentally friendly packaging solutions are central components of our KHS sustainability strategy. As a reliable partner of CMBC, we are proud to join forces on the path towards responsible climate protection.”