Diageo is set to run a global pilot with Ecospirits after signing a three-year agreement with the circular-packaging company.

The London-headquartered distiller will use Ecospirits’ reusable packaging for the distribution of its Captain Morgan, Gordon’s and Smirnoff brands to on-premise locations in 18 markets.

Ecospirits’ main system is called Ecotote, a re-useable glass container that holds 4.5 litres of liquid, held inside a branded outer shell. It aims to reduce packaging waste by providing on-premise locations with branded refillable containers.

Ecospirits’ containers are connected to the internet and can report depletion levels. The system also allows for the pouring of spirits set to local measurements.

To facilitate the bottling and refilling of the containers in local regions, Ecospirits maintains a facility called an ‘Ecoplant’ that operates as a bottling and Ecotote cleaning unit.

The distiller said it would start rolling out the Ecotote systems in 2024 and would conduct an analysis of the pilot’s results in three years to judge the “sustainability benefits” of the system.

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“Ecospirits’ mission is to end single-use glass in the spirits and wine industry,” Paul Gabie, CEO of Ecospirits, said. “For the circular economy to achieve global scale, innovators like Ecospirits need the support of industry leaders like Diageo in catalysing the linear to circular packaging transition. As such, this new global partnership is a significant milestone for Ecospirits and our journey to a circular future.”

Diageo is not the only spirits company to have worked with Ecospirits’ closed-circuit packaging system. Rémy Cointreau and Pernod Ricard have also worked with the group.

The Guinness brand owner is undertaking several sustainably trials across its portfolio. In Ireland, the group is working with farmers to reduce carbon emissions created during the production of barley with new regenerative farming techniques.