Tapi, Thinfilm team up on wine/spirit smart closures

Beverage closure firm Tapi has agreed to work with Thinfilm on near-field communication (NFC) closures for brand protection and consumer engagement.

Italy-based Tapi is a major supplier of synthetic, metal and wood closures for beverages as well as other products such as oils and cosmetics – including ranges that guard against counterfeiting – but the agreement with Thinfilm marks its first major foray into connected closures.

The two companies say they are developing closures that incorporate Thinfilm’s NFC-enabled OpenSense tags “so that brands may protect their products, thus assuring their customers that the contents of the bottle are authentic and safe to consume.”

The tags sense the 'sealed' or 'opened' state of the product or package and wirelessly transmit that status information, along with a unique identifier that can be used for authentication, to any NFC-enabled device such as a smartphone.

Thinfilm tags can also be used to create interactive packaging content. A second closure type, based on the company’s SpeedTap tag, is designed to allow brands to open a direct channel to customers, once again via their smart device.

Thinfilm has worked with other specific beverage brands to develop HFC-enabled closures for authentication – for example signing deals with Ferngrove Wines and Diageo for Johnnie Walker whiskey a few years ago – but the agreement with Tapi means that the two companies can now work together to provide off-the-shelf closures to a broad range of customers.

Tapì and Thinfilm say they are now working with premium brands to integrate NFC-integrated closures into their bottling and/or packaging production lines.

“Counterfeit products not only cause worldwide losses in the sector, but they are a big health problem,” said Tapì CEO Roberto Casini.

“In addition, brands are also now looking for new ways to interact with their consumers. These cleverly integrated smart closures can help our customers track and protect their products while at the same time strengthening their reputations on the market by increasing engagement with consumers.”

The total global addressable spirits market is estimated to be 65 billion bottles annually. The companies plan to release a suite of smart closures to the premium segment of the spirits market over the coming months, that they say will address “a broad range of spirits closure styles and design, aesthetic, and protection requirements.”

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