A shortage of Quidi Vidi’s cobalt blue bottles is keeping their popular IcbBerg brew off store shelves across the province.
The brewery purchased 65,000 bottles to cover summer sales, but demand for the product skyrocketed early on.
“We figured we had enough bottles to supply us through the summer period. We found we sold everything we had in the month of July. We got cleaned out,” said owner David Rees.
The sale estimates were based on prior years when the beer was packaged in a clear container.
Reese said the new look has meant a number of bottles are being kept by tourists, as well as locals using them as decoration.
“Tourists love to take them away because they’re so unique and they want to take them back home and show their friends,” said Rees. “I think people here in Newfoundland, they’re decorative, so people are keeping them at home and using them behind their bars and stuff like that.”
In an attempt to meet demand, Quidi Vidi arranged a partnership with local recycling company Ever Green Recycling. Ever Green operates several of the Multi Materials Stewardship Board’s (MMSB) Green Depot franchises, and has been delivering weekly shipments of the blue bottles back to Quidi Vidi.
The brewery now receives around 150 dozen bottles back each week. Those numbers, however, are not sufficient enough to operate the machines.
“We’re not getting enough bottles back to do even the minimum run,” said Rees. “We could do about 400 dozen in the smallest run, but we don’t like to do that, we like to do about 1,000 dozen.”
As part of the brewery’s recycling program, bottles are re-used if they pass an inspection and pressurized testing. Industry estimates show a brown bottle can circulate approximately a dozen times before it needs to be crushed.
“It takes an awful lot of energy to make a bottle and you don’t have to use that energy. You just have to clean it” said Rees.
The bottles collected at MMSB depots not operated by Ever Green are presently being crushed and sent out of province for processing.
Quidi Vidi has approached the ministry about receiving bottles back through other MMSB Green Depot locations, but has heard nothing back.
Cara Pike, director of communications with MMSB, said the agency would be interested “finding a local solution that would involve reusing, and supporting a local business as well.”
“We’d be more then happy to speak with him to see if there is other opportunities,” said Pike.
Quidi Vidi will be receiving two new shipments of bottles from their China supplier in September and November.
The beer is waiting to be bottled but Rees said there is no chance of him putting the iceberg beer into a tradional brown bottle.
“The product deserves to be treated special — where else in the world can you go and get a beer that’s made from the water of icebergs,” said Rees.
“We’re lucky enough here in Newfoundland to have this available to us so why would you give it the treatment like you give the beer that’s made from city water.”