Over recent years there has been a marked trend in the drinks business towards premiumisation, that has affected all segments, from limited edition wines and craft beers, through to high-end whiskies, and small batch gins.
Consumers are looking for new and original experiences, and cork is a key driver of this trend, since it guarantees both a superior seal and is viewed as a sign of class.
Capsulated cork stoppers distinguish leading spirit brands and are collected by many people as treasured souvenirs.
Amorim TopSeries has been able to capitalize on this premiumisation trend, given its in-depth knowledge of its clients’ requirements, local presence in key markets, use of more noble, ecologically-friendly materials, and its one-stop-shop approach that ensures that each stopper’s design is tailored to the clients’ overall packaging objectives.
One strong area of growth in use of capsulated cork stoppers is the world of white spirits.
Over recent years Amorim Top Series has been expanding its presence in this sector, and following a major research programme based on advanced technology and rigorous testing, Amorim Top Series recently unveiled the Whitetop stopper - a premium cork closure solution specifically designed for white spirits.
Laboratory validation tests confirm that Whitetop stoppers deliver excellent performance when used with white spirits, in key parameters such as colour migration, dust migration and sensorial neutrality.
Whitetop stoppers have recently been adopted by brands such as Germany’s Windspiel Gin.
For white spirits such as tequila, cork has been used for many years by leading producers and distributors. In Mexico for example, around one third of the leading brands use cork to seal their tequila products, with an even higher percentage in bottles intended for the export market.
Many of the leading Mexican tequila brands use cork stoppers, for whom use of a cork stopper has become an important sign of premiumisation. Premium tequila brands use capsulated cork stoppers with deluxe tops, to distinguish themselves from the competition.
Examples include Patrón, Milagro, D. Julio, Avión, Cofradia, 1800.
Cork stoppers are also making significant inroads into the vodka market, especially amongst high-end vodka brands – which is by far the fastest growing segment. Brands that use cork stoppers include Chase Distillery, Chopin, Belvedere, Soplica.
The booming gin market has also embraced cork stoppers, especially amongst small batch gins and premium gin brands who use cork capsulated stoppers to distinguish their products from the competition. Examples include: Hendrick’s, Gin Sul, Ferdinand’s Saar, Elephant Gin, Gillemore, Filliers, Caorunn, to name but a few.
The expanding craft beer segment is another important example of this new premiumisation trend and has enjoyed rapid growth over recent years, in contrast to the static overall beer market.
A report disclosed by The Brewers Association in March 2017 revealed that the craft beer segment grew by 15% in 2015 alone, and by a further 6% in 2016. Whereas mass retail beer brands typically use artificial closures, craft beers are increasingly opting for cork stoppers, due to their superior sealing performance and a packaging design that clearly distinguishes craft beers from mass market beer brands.
Use of capsulated cork stoppers is also increasingly popular in the whisky market, especially in the segment of premium, high-end and super-premium whiskies.
Premium whiskies - like other premium brands in areas such as craft beer, vodka, gin and tequila - value cork stoppers as a means of adding greater prestige and personalization to their packaging.
Cork is the preferred stopper for premium to super-premium whiskies, in light of cork’s premium image and unique sealing characteristics and cork stoppers have consolidated their market share in this segment over recent years.
In the case of single malt Scotch whiskies, leading premium whisky brands - such as The Glenlivet, The Macallan, Glenfiddich, Glenmorangie, The Balvenie and Laphroaig – consistently use cork capsulated stoppers.
As with craft beers, the trend towards use of cork stoppers has been further powered by the increasing number of craft whisky distilleries, the vast majority of which use cork stoppers.
In some markets – e.g. several countries in Asia - cork offers the additional benefit in terms of preventing counterfeit spirits entering the market. Cork-sealed bottles are easier to control and offers an additional security element, which is vital to distributors.
This cross-segment trend has significantly increased demand for capsulated cork stoppers from Amorim Top Series, which provides stoppers in four main segments: Prestige, Elegance, Premium and Classic Value.
Inventions such as Whitetop stoppers will make further inroads into the booming white spirits markets.
By allying cutting edge technologies, innovative design skills and premium quality cork and finishing materials, Amorim Top Series is a key force in the powerful trend towards greater use of capsulated cork stoppers worldwide, currently exporting to over 100 markets.