Amcor Helps McCormick Launch Liquor Bottle with Built-In Handle

Posted: May 6, 2014

McCormick Distilling Co. in Weston, MO, commercializes the first liquor bottle with a built-in handle. The 1.75-liter polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottle for the company’s popular vodka brand is being supplied by Amcor PET Packaging.

Up until now, no one had been able to successfully create a commercial, handled PET liquor bottle due to the difficulty of blowmolding around a grip. This industry first is a result of a two-year cooperative venture between McCormick and Amcor.

“McCormick is the No. 2 domestic vodka brand,” says Jim Zargo, McCormick president and COO. “With a lot of competition in the value-priced category, we were looking for a way to differentiate ourselves.” McCormick brought its vision to Amcor two years ago and challenged its engineering team to come up with a commercial solution. The project would end up pushing both container and equipment engineering to new limits.

“This is an extremely difficult process to execute,” explains Jonathan Jarman, project engineer, Amcor. “One of the trickiest elements is to make sure that the grip is perfectly placed inside the mold. The other major issue is that there wasn’t a machine with a proven track record for this type of application.”

Since there were no commercially available units, a proprietary “reheat-blow” machine was built for the project. With all of those variables in the mix, the bottle design itself also needed to make accommodations for the volume displaced by the grip. “McCormick wanted us to emulate the look of their former 1.75-L bottle, but we needed to modify that a little to still get the right volume. The solution was to move the shoulder up and reduce the neck height,” Jarman says. For more, visit