Hawkstone Lager Beer Packaging

Experience Centre

ISTA Certified Beer Packaging For Hawkstone Lager

Get In Touch

Breweries and drinks suppliers are shifting to the world of eCommerce, and this brings with it many challenges. Packaging is one of the biggest issues that manufacturers face when it comes to selling online, and there are so many things that need to be considered. 

Smurfit Kappa recently worked alongside Cotswold Brew Co, helping them to take advantage of our recently launched eCommerce Experience Centre to create packaging for their Hawkstone Lager brand.

Who Are Hawkstone?

Hawkstone is a brand developed by Cotswold Brew Co., which has been a customer of Smurfit Kappa since November 2021. Rick and Emma at Cotswold Brew Co. teamed up with broadcaster Jeremey Clarkson to create Hawkstone Lager.

Clarkson committed himself to cultivating his malting barley on his Cotswolds Farm, Diddly Squat Farm, and was determined that it should be put to good use. Rick and Emma were introduced to Clarkson through the landlord of their local pub, and they soon realised they all had a commitment to supporting local agriculture. As well as supporting the same causes, Rick and Emma are extremely talented brewers and created Hawkstone Lager – a brew of such impressive quality that Clarkson decided to invest.

The Beer Packaging Challenge

We have been working with the Cotswold Brew Co. since their brand launch in 2021 and we have worked on a number of packaging projects for them. 

They turned to us for the beer packaging for Hawkstone, and one of their key requirements was a supplier that could withstand the supply demands of a rapidly growing brand without compromising on quality or service. They needed delivery boxes which could withstand the rigours of the national courier network and protect the Hawkstone lager during its journey to the customer.

We initially supplied beer packaging for Hawkstone, which was fit for purpose and fit the brief they’d provided. They were selling through various channels, including local breweries, direct to consumers through their own website and were soon selling on Amazon. 

But the eCommerce giant has very strict requirements for the packaging of products sold through its site. Hawkstone’s original packaging was an outer box with assembled dividers, and this was not suitable for Amazon sales. 

Cutting Customers Costs

At Smurfit Kappa, we have a dedicated team who know how to navigate Amazon’s packaging guidelines, based at our new International Safe Transit Association (ISTA) certified lab, part of our Experience Centre in Northampton. The ISTA lab brings with it an expansion of our network of packaging testing labs that provide retailers and producers with invaluable support for developing, testing and launching packaging solutions for eCommerce. 

Our expert team redesigned their beer packaging to meet the strict requirements of Amazon and tested it at our ISTA lab, ensuring it was fit for purpose and met the challenges of the eCommerce supply chain. The new solution was made up of two inserts which suspended the beer bottles away from each other and the outer packaging while in transit. Following testing in our ISTA lab, this new beer packaging solution sailed through the strict testing requirements and could be used for shipping products via Amazon without any additional costs. Not only that, but this new packaging was also Frustration-Free Packaging compliant, which means the packaging is recyclable and comes without excess packaging materials, providing customers with a better unboxing experience and leaving them more likely to reorder. 

Previously, many boxes were being damaged in transit which meant that customers weren't receiving their orders in a timely fashion. This also meant that replacement orders and repeat courier fees were costing the brewery in excess of £20,000 a month. After testing at our ISTA lab and creating packs that were now Amazon ISTA 6 compliant, Smurfit Kappa not only helped the client to reduce damages but also reduce their environmental impact by using less packaging material, which means less raw materials used and less waste.

Smurfit Kappa Experience Centres

Our recently launched eCommerce focussed Experience Centre in Northampton was a fantastic addition to The Cotswold Brew Co packaging development. It helped incorporate decades of Smurfit Kappa’s packaging and manufacturing experience while providing additional expertise in the form of groundbreaking state-of-the-art technology, increasing the support Smurfit Kappa could offer the Cotswold Brew Co team.


The previously launched UK-based Experience Centres in Yate in South-West England and Mold in North Wales were already popular with our clients, as the centres helped expand the development during each phase of the packaging process. The launch of the new eCommerce-focused centre allowed even more opportunities for clients to be involved in project development. 

From initial design, testing and sustainability improvements to final touches and project completion, our Experience Centre allowed Cotswold Brew Co to understand, visualise and collaborate during each stage of their packaging project until they were completely satisfied with the end packaging result.

Hawkstone Lager, Beer Packaging

Amazon Approved Packaging

As specialists in eCommerce packaging, we have access to a range of tools which help us find the perfect solution for our customers. We focus hugely on supporting our customers to deliver packaging that meets their every requirement. Our purpose-built ISTA Testing Lab means we can ensure packaging will be approved by Amazon and meet all their requirements, opening up your business to customers around the world. Find out more about our specialised Amazon packaging and ISTA Testing Lab here.

ISTA Lab Testing

Cotswold Brew Co enjoyed the benefits of Smurfit Kappa’s ISTA Lab Testing as, amongst other aspects, it helped ensure their delivery boxes could withstand the rigours of travelling through various national courier services.

Another advantage of Cotswold Brew Co using Smurfit Kappa’s ISTA Lab was the increase in confidence it provides consumers and customers. An ISTA certificate says to consumers that the packaging is sturdy, resilient and will likely improve their reputation rather than harm it.

Whether your product requires full ISTA testing or something more minimal, such as finding out how much weight a parcel can withstand during loading. Our lab testing can help build consumer loyalty and strengthen brand recognition.

Future Collaboration

Off the back of this successful project, we have secured a two-year supply agreement for Hawkstone lager courier boxes for Amazon and can’t wait to continue working with this booming brewery, backed by people as passionate about what they produce as we are.

To discover how a Smurfit Kappa Experience Centre can help your brand realise your packaging potential, get in touch via the form below.

Arrange a call back from our Experience Centre team

* All fields are mandatory

I confirm that I have read and accept the content of the privacy statement. At any time you have the right to object to the processing of your personal data for direct marketing purposes by contacting us.