Projects

Polar Pitcher®

The Big Chill

Overview

A pitcher of ice-cold draught beer represents something of a compromise.

On the upside, it’s easier to consume than making a series of trips to the bar or calls on table staff. On the downside, that final glass is going to be warmer than the first. The usual solution is a bag of ice dropped into the pitcher – but who knows where the bag’s been and who’s handled it? And do you really want that bag taking up valuable space in the jug?

The Polar Pitcher® provides a neat solution. The 60-ounce container encloses a built-in cooling cylinder. It’s designed to be filled with ice, keeping beer frosty-cold without fear of dilution or contamination. It proved popular in the on-premise market, creating an instant hit for creators Polar Plastech and forming an enthusiastic client-base including brewing giants Anheuser-Busch, Miller Brewing Company and Coors. Following that success it moved to a kitchen table near you.

Initially made with polycarbonate, Polar Plastech switched to Eastman Tritan™ copolyester. Citing a wide range of performance criteria, Polar Plastech president Steve Roberts explains: “We wanted a material that was durable – obviously for the on-premise market; we want the pitchers to stay crystal clear, not turn cloudy; we don’t want them to break; we do want them to be dishwasher safe – for home-use and high-temperature commercial washers as well; and we want something that is BPA free. Tritan™ offers all of the plusses that we need.”

The specific issue that prompted Polar Plastech to reject polycarbonate in favor of Tritan™ was clarity.

Reasons of safety and economy have made glass pitchers virtually obsolete in the commercial environment. But bars also want an equally clear material to best showcase their draught product.

Roberts says polycarbonate initially did the job but repeated high-temperature washings caused the pitchers to become discolored after six to eight months. By comparison, Tritan™ does not lose its crystal clarity, even after the most stringent wash cycle. And when Polar Plastech specified Tritan™, the new material was a simple drop-in replacement for the polycarbonate it replaced, utilizing the same tooling with comparable cycle times.

The clarity of Tritan™ helps Polar Plastech with another aspect of its expansion: the ability to print logos directly onto the inner ice-cylinder.

For a brand owner like Coors, the attraction of having a logo within the pitcher is greatly enhanced by the knowledge the outer container will retain its clarity throughout the projected life of the vessel. The potential for the home market – be it in insignia of sports franchises or college affiliations – is also huge.

A less obvious advantage, though one with a groundswell of public interest, is that Tritan™ is a BPA free material. With demand rising for beverage containers produced without bisphenol-A, Polar Plastech believes it’s staying ahead of the competition.

“Looking down the road you’re going to be hard-pressed to find a polycarbonate pitcher,” forecasts Roberts. “We were getting a little ahead of the curve by putting a product out there and advertising it as BPA free, saying you’re not going to have any problems if you’re drinking liquids out of the pitchers that we manufacture.”

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