Yesterday our team participated in an educational tour of Boxed Water and New Holland Brewing Company. This event was put on by the West Michigan chapter of IoPP (Institute of Packaging Professionals), which all of our employees are members of.
The tour began with a Q & A session with Chris Radford, the Director of Operations at Boxed Water. We learned about how the idea concept came about for Boxed Water and how they are rooted in sustainability. Being engineers, our team immediately started investigating the boxes and asking questions about material composition, stacking strength, and the filling process.
We learned that the cartons Boxed Water is comprised of are 76 percent trees, a renewable resource. The design of the box is also printed on a film so that the carton remains completely undyed or tampered with, for maximum recyclability. They even had walls in their warehouse made from their own recycled boxes and other recycled materials! All of this information put into prospective the amount of waste that occurs from plastic water bottles. The Boxed Water concept is striving to eliminate this pollution and replace it with sustainable options. This is particularly important in the United States, due to it being the highest amount of convenience water consumption in the world.
The stacking strength was an interesting topic for our (Packaging Compliance Labs) team, considering we do compression and transit testing daily in our lab. Upon dissembling the box and seeing how it was made, it was evident that the Boxed Water team had taken stacking of their product into account. They reinforce the table tops of the cartons to ensure that they can handle being stacked for transit and for displays in stores. These are all important factors to take into consideration when looking at packaging going through various transit environments.
The filling process really spoke to Boxed Water’s mission to give back to the community and support a sustainable future. Boxed Water sources their water from the local community, therefore they pay for the water like everyone else. This supports Kent County and puts dollars back into the local economy. Boxed Water then filters the water through reverse osmosis, giving it a clean, crisp taste!
After touring Boxed Water, our group walked across the street to the New Holland Brewing facility. Here we learned about the full process of making all different types of beers and liquors. It was particularly interesting to see the different forms of barrel aging. One of the most interesting barrel aged brews was the Sour Beer. In the Sour Beer fermentation room, called the “Funk Room,” we learned about bacteria is used to work with the yeast to give the beer different flavors. We also learned New Holland is utilizing teas to create a fruity spin on sour brew.
We ended this tour with a look into the distillery where they were making various whiskeys and gins. In this room, the antique tank from Germany stood out like a piece of art. It was a massive cooper tank they used to help make their whiskey, showing homage to years of craft distillers before them. All around it was evident how close the craft brewing community is and how much of a collective effort it is to provide the nation with good quality beers and spirits. The guys at New Holland Brewing Company were truly masters of art in their craft.