A serendipitous Chinese restaurant lunch meeting near Golden, Colorado, with sketches on cocktail napkins. Scott Coors and Evan Watkins co-founded ALeco Container in 2011 thanks to the discussions carried over their favorite fried rice. Shortly after that, a pilot sized aluminum bottle manufacturing line sprouted in Arvada, Colorado.
“We have a vision of a world where products and their packaging materials are designed to incorporate the highest practical recycled content, to encourage reuse, and to be fully recyclable, to the extent that it is far easier and more economical for consumers to reuse and recycle than to send waste into the environment. We are doing our best to steer the world in that direction, one bottle at a time,” said Scott Coors, CEO and Co-Founder of ALeco Container.
Coors and Watkins met in 2007 while they were working with a company that designed and integrated high speed aluminum can manufacturing lines. After that company closed, their former fellow employees realized that the craft brewing market was in need of a unique packaging format such as an aluminum bottle.
The two embarked on a market research & funding endeavor, to build a 200 bottle per minute aluminum bottle production facility. The company gained investors, was named “Evolution Bottles”, brought Watkins in as a technical adviser and investor, and Coors in as a business adviser and investor. Unfortunately, the visions of the other investors and the ones of Watkins & Coors did not align.
The two met at the Chinese restaurant again, and decided the micro line strategy was the way to go. After securing funding, they bought out the other investors for the Evolution Bottles name.
After two and a half years of engineering effort to design, build, and integrate the production line, ALeco Container shipped its first pallet of 16oz crownable aluminum beer bottles to Bridge Brew Works in West Virginia in 2014.
Both the 16oz and 12oz bottle were a hit with the micros, but unfortunately their price of business was not lucrative enough to carry on.
ALeco set about reinventing its product lineup and teamed with an aluminum supplier to design and produce a 750ml bottle for the wine and spirits market. However, adoption in this segment was far slower than anticipated with customers needing extended flavor evaluation testing windows and objecting to pricing that was above that of glass.
Frustrated but not yet ready to give up, ALeco once again reinvented itself and designed a reusable wide mouth water bottle aimed at the promotions and event markets. It’s innovative, 80% recycled content, fully recyclable, BPA free bottles can be digitally printed in high resolution full color. ALeco continues to take orders from the wine and spirits markets when the opportunities align with the overall goals.
Today, the promotional market is where ALeco Container finds most of its business with a similar portion coming from metal form testing and research and development for metal containers.