Aussie drinks brand to buy paper bottling machine

Mother of Pearl Vodka founders Nicola Thompson Hancock and Nic Hancock. Image courtesy Mother of Pearl Vodka

Australian drinks brand Mother of Pearl Vodka has announced plans to buy Australia’s first paper bottle machine to help wines and spirits brands in Australasia and South-east Asia to cut the carbon of their bottles by 84 percent.

The company, which already sells its grape-based vodka in the paper Frugal Bottle, has signed a letter of intent with the bottle’s producer, British sustainable packaging company Frugalpac, to buy their Frugal Bottle assembly machine, and revealed it also plans to launch a range of wines in the paper bottles.

Made from 94% recycled cardboard, Frugal Bottles are five times lighter and have a carbon footprint six times lower than glass bottles – using less energy to produce, transport and dispose of than glass equivalents.

The announcement was made at the Austrade ‘G’Day by the Bay’ event at the Gardens by the Bay in Singapore on Friday February 23rd.


Mother of Pearl’s stand at GDay by the Bay


“We loved the Frugal Bottle so much we decided to buy the machine so we can make them in Australia!” said Mother of Pearl Vodka co-founder Nic Hancock.

“But we don’t just want to keep this low carbon packaging to ourselves. Sustainability is hugely important to us and we believe every wine and spirit brand in Australia, New Zealand and Southeast Asia should be given the chance to decarbonise their bottles like us.

“We were proud to be the first Australian producers to use the Frugal Bottle for our premium grape-based vodka, but we won’t be the last.”

Mother of Pearl also unveiled a gin in a Frugal Bottle at the event, and revealed it plans to launch a range of wines in the paper bottle too.


Mother of Pearl’s paper bottle flats


Weighing just 83g (before filled), the bottles have a food grade aluminium pouch inside, similar to those used in bag-in-box wine, to contain the liquid and offer 360° branding space.

The Frugal Bottle assembly machine will be able to produce up to 2.5 million paper bottles a year, and, once installed, Mother of Pearl will be able to make and fill Frugal Bottles for other drinks brands looking to cut their carbon.

Mother of Pearl was the first Australian brand to launch in a Frugal Bottle – the world’s first and only commercially available paper bottle for wines and spirits.

“We’ve always wanted our vodka to stand out from the rest,” said co-founder and business development director, Nicola Thompson Hancock.

“It’s naturally gluten free vodka with zero sugar, made in Melbourne from late-off-the-vine pinot gris grapes for a full-bodied flavour.”

“But just as important to us, is how its presented. The Frugal Bottle, as well as having exceptional eco-credentials, offers the ability to design all across the bottle so you can stand out on shelf, on the table or by the pool.

“The reception to us launching our vodka in a paper bottle has been astounding and inspired us to expand our range into gin and wines. So it was a no brainer to decide to buy our own machine. We can’t wait to help other brands make the switch to paper too.”

Malcolm Waugh, CEO of British sustainable packaging firm Frugalpac said he was “very excited” at Mother of Pearl’s commitment to buy the machine.

“Australia and Southeast Asia are huge markets for wines and spirits and over the last year we’ve been inundated with requests for paper bottles. Mother of Pearl’s commitment to buy their own Frugal Bottle machine will put them in a great place to meet this demand.”

More than 35 different drinks producers from around the world have launched 128 different SKUs of wines, spirits and olive oils in the Frugal Bottle since 2020.

Are you a Daily Wine News subscriber? If not, click here to join our mailing list. It’s free!