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AB InBev’s Four Peaks Takes the Guesswork Out of Recycling

The Arizona Craft Brewer is revamping its sustainability messaging alongside its package design with the addition of CIRT’s digital, location-based recycling tool.

Consumers can scan the CIRT QR code on the back of all Four Peaks packaging to access local recycling information.
Consumers can scan the CIRT QR code on the back of all Four Peaks packaging to access local recycling information.
AB Inbev

Colliding opportunities in package design and sustainability have resulted in what Arizona AB InBev brewer Four Peaks Brewing calls a U.S. beverage industry-first.

Alongside a portfolio-wide packaging refresh, the Anheuser Busch craft partner announced in April a partnership with CIRT Inc. (Can I Recycle This?), making it the first U.S. beverage company to include CIRT’s digital, location-based recycling tool on its entire packaging portfolio, Anheuser Busch says.

“We’re incredibly excited for this partnership, as it was perfect timing to include on the new look of our entire portfolio,” Trevor Needle, Four Peaks marketing director, says. “This partnership offers our consumers a way to easily determine exactly where and how to recycle our products, promoting and increasing recycling one can at a time.”

The CIRT tool was created with backing from the 100+ Accelerator program, which is funded by AB Inbev, as well as Unilever, Coca-Cola, and Colgate-Palmolive. Launched in 2018, the program supports startups as they implement sustainable solutions.

Four Peaks learned about the connection between CIRT and its parent company as it was searching for ways to encourage recycling of its products. “Through that connection, it was serendipitous timing as Four Peaks was refreshing packaging for our entire portfolio, so we were able to design the labels to accommodate the CIT QR codes throughout,” Needle explains.

How does the CIRT tool work?

The CIRT tool on Four Peaks’ new packaging allows consumers to access local recycling instructions, from wherever they may be, by scanning a QR code on all of Four Peaks’ metal cans, glass bottles, and secondary packaging on cartons or cases.

By including this QR code on its entire portfolio, Four Peaks can provide local recycling information to over 21 million people across its market regions.

The brewer hopes to divert 3.5 million lbs. of material from landfills and offset over 5.1 million lbs. of CO2e[quivalent] emissions through the increased accessibility of recycling instructions.

Four Peaks is the second AB InBev craft brewer to partner with CIRT, after Wicked Weed Brewing in 2021, but it is the first to include the QR codes on its entire portfolio of 27 active beer brands and over 85 SKUs.

Implementing CIRT’s technology into new packaging

Four Peaks says it is the first beverage company to include the CIRT recycling tool on its entire packaging portfolio.Four Peaks says it is the first beverage company to include the CIRT recycling tool on its entire packaging portfolio.AB InbevFour Peaks first set its sights on inclusion of CIRT technology in its packaging at the start of 2023, when it set out to redesign its entire visual brand identity.

Since the brewer’s previous packaging refresh in 2018, it had launched two on-trend beers with vibrant designs with its Wow Wheat and Hazy IPA products. Seeing the success of these new beers, Four Peaks hoped to tie the new brand equity to the rest of its portfolio. 

“Our ultimate goals for this VBI refresh were to reinvigorate our established brands like Kilt Lifter and Hop Knot, create a cohesive and flexible system that allows for new brands to easily be added to our portfolio, and ensure consistency across all our current and future brands,” Needle says. 

With the overhaul in the brand’s package design came an “amazing opportunity to really reassess our recycling messaging and make meaningful changes,” Needle explains.

That opportunity did come with some challenges. In ensuring that the QR codes were large enough to easily scan, Four Peaks had to change some messaging on its bottle labels to accommodate the addition.

After designing each packaging type to fit the CIRT code, Four Peaks turned to AB Inbev’s sustainability team to ensure it would include up-to-date recycling information and saw the opportunity to include CIRT’s tool on all its packaging.

“Over the next few months while finalizing our designs, we ensured we had the proper QR codes and recycling messaging for all of our different package types for the launch in 2024,” says Needle.

Four Peaks has already agreed to continue this partnership with CIRT for several years ahead, revamping both its brand image and the standard for recycling messaging within craft brewing.

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