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Paper cups and alcohol

By Steffen Andersen · 11. December 2023

Due to a higher focus on sustainability, paper cups are being used more and more for serving drinks, alcohol tastings at events, and so on.

We’ve helped customers with custom paper cups for festivals and supermarket samplings. Paper cups are a great way for spirit brands to promote their products, with full-color printing options that align with their brand and story.

In addition, the variety of cup sizes makes them ideal for handing out samples or serving mixed alcoholic beverages.

malibu paper cups limepack
Malibu® Paper cups

Paper cups are coated with a thin plastic coating, while the rest of the cup is paper. This is in contrast to plastic cups that are made entirely of plastic.

When switching from plastic cups to paper cups, there’s some key considerations to keep in mind. The reason why we are writing this article is because we want to prevent situations where your paper cups start leaking.

This can occur due to some different factors that may lead the plastic and paper in the paper cups to start dissolving.

The difference in alcohol percentage

When it comes to alcohol percentage, it is important to note that standard paper cups should primarily be used for serving alcohol that has an alcohol percentage below 5 %.

We have found this to be the typical treshold.

Kahlua Paper cups
Kahlua® Paper cups

Some of our customers have used our standard paper cups to serve stronger alcoholic beverages without experiencing any issues with leaking.

But these instances occured during samplings, with the drinks being finished rather quickly after pouring.

Another situation where our standard paper cups are great is when they are used to serve mixed drinks🥤.

We have helped Malibu, Campari, Absolut Vodka and other alcohol brands with making paper cups for events they were hosting or attending to serve their drinks.

PLA- vs PE-coating

Another key factor to take into consideration if you want to serve alcohol in your paper cups is the coating on the cups.

There are two types of coating; PLA coating and PE coating. PLA coating is a biodegradable🌱 coating, so the paper cups can degrade in industrial compost. PE coating is the standard plastic coating that is used for almost all paper cups.

The reason why it is important to know the difference between these two types of paper cups is that the PE coating is stronger than PLA coating. So when it comes to making sure that the paper cups do not leak, a PE-coating is better.

It’s also very important to choose PE-coating when the alcohol percentage is higher. Our alcoholproof paper cups can only be made with a PE-coating.


Paper cups are a great way of showcasing your brand and serving your products.  But choosing the right paper cups is crucial to avoid a negative experience for the ones tasting your products due to potential leaks.

The two aspects to have in mind when it comes to alcohol and paper cups, is that you should get alcohol-proof paper cups for beverages with an alcohol concentration over 5 %.

And remember that PLA coating is not as strong as PE-coating when it comes to alcohol percentages.

Content and Marketing Manager at Limepack

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