Minimum Viable Product (MVP) to Production
With our proof-of-concept pilots complete, Conscious Container is launching our business with Minimum Viable Product (MVP) to Production initiatives in the later part of 2020. Partnering with beverage producers we will be launching beverages packaged in refillable glass bottles for collection and washing by Conscious Container and refilling by the beverage producer. We will be implementing several different collection systems to ensure consumers and retailers have simple channels to return their refillable glass bottles. Beverage producers will include beer, wine, and non-alcoholic categories. Here we go….
How Refillable Glass Bottle System Works:
MVP Pilot #1: Launch with ABInBev
In early 2020, Conscious Container was selected to join the Anheuser Busch 100+ Sustainability Accelerator to conduct a refillable glass bottle pilot in Northern California. Leveraging from our previous pilots and the depth of Anheuser-Busch InBev’s refillable and marketing experience, we are preparing to launch a refillable glass bottle full lifecycle pilot in late summer or early fall 2020 in Northern California.
As with any start-up, you need to identify the problem you are solving and then conduct proof-of-concept pilots to test your business case. In our case, the system to collect and preserve bottles for washing and refilling is the core challenge to build a refillable glass bottle business here in the United States. Currently, in the United States bottles are collected and crushed for cullet (glass sold to glass manufacturers) or dumped into landfills. To test our business case and assumptions we conducted three pilots over a three year period.
Conscious Container 'Donation Drop-off' Pilot:
We set up nine drop-off locations around the North Lake Tahoe and Truckee area in California. Consumers could drop-off their 12oz long neck craft beer bottles which Conscious Container would collect, store, and ship to Bayern Brewing for washing and refilling. During this time we had a booth at almost any related event to talk about our program and gain consumer insights on our start-up idea. MORE HERE.
Conscious Container 'Incentive-Based' Pilot:
Working in close partnership with Great Basin Brewing in Northern Nevada, we set-up an incentive based bottle drop off at the two Great Basin Brewing brewpubs.
Consumers would receive a credit coupon for each case (24 bottles) of 12oz craft beer bottles to use towards a meal at the brewpub.
Bottles were stored at Great Basin Brewing’s production facility and then shipped to Bayern Brewing for washing and refilling.
We also hosted several Beers 4 Bottles events partnering with local non-profits to raise awareness about our refillable collection program and as a fundraiser for the non-profit. MORE HERE.
Conscious Container 'California CRV Redemption Pilot:
As a certified Processor with the CalRecycle Bottle Deposit system, Conscious Container partnered with the Truckee Tahoe Sierra Disposal (TTSD) to pilot a program at their CRV recycling center location in Truckee, California.
TTSD would separate out specific 12oz craft beer CRV bottles which Conscious Container would pickup, store at Great Basin Brewing in Nevada, and then ship off for washing and refilling at Bayern Brewing. MORE HERE.
Wine Bottle Renew—California Wine Bottle Washing Operation:
Conscious Container’s President Bruce Stephens founded Wine Bottle Renew in California in 2008.
This start-up business set up a full bottle washing operation in Stockton California to collect, wash, and resell wine bottles for refilling.
In the first six months Wine Bottle Renew collected, washed, and sold over 600,000 wine bottles.
The business closed due to faulty equipment and a lack of capital to restart but the experience and partnerships Bruce fostered are proving valuable as Conscious Container builds our wine industry customers and partners.