The thank you letter that Ralf Jung, managing director of the Bergneustadt company GIZEH Verpackungen, received from the Papal Swiss Guard is proof that GIZEH is held in high esteem. After the company had supplied guard cups which had been specially produced in Bergneustadt for this year’s papal inauguration at the Vatican, Jung received more post from Italy. “As you can see for yourself, your initiative was a huge success and the cups were met with wide acclaim,” states the letter from Oberst Christoph Graf, commander of the Papal Swiss Guard.
The made-in-Bergneustadt cups are still a young product produced by GIZEH Verpackungen. Here’s a brief summary of the idea behind them: on the one hand, returnable cups can help noticeably reduce the waste at large-scale events. On the other hand, the customer has the option of customizing the print on the cups. This isn’t anything particularly special, as it is already possible to place orders with GIZEH for small celebrations. “And if anyone wants just one cup, they can have just one unique cup,” explains Jung. The new product made in the Oberbergisches Land also impressed the Swiss Guard. By serving open drinks in the cups made in Bergneustadt, the Guard commando was able to realise the objectives and significantly reduce the huge mountains of waste, explains the commander.
By taking this step, the Guard have been able to set an example and “reflect exactly what Pope Francis referred to in his encyclical ‘Laudati si’, wherein the Holy Father writes about concerns for God’s creation,” according to commander Graf.
As a reminder of his trip to Rome, Jung received a copy of the Pope’s letter, in the hope that he might be able to find inspiration therein to make more of a stand for sustainability with his products, as the head of the Swiss Guard writes.
Contact was established thanks to the Weltenburg Abbey Brewery. This brewery is one of the oldest in the world and is the preferred supplier and purveyor to the Vatican. After a request from Bavaria, it didn’t take him long to make the decision, says Jung. Getting such an opportunity is simply sensational.
However, it’s not just in Rome where the term ‘event cup’ has been coined, with these items becoming sought-after collectibles, as the managing director explains. “Thanks to this innovative project, we quickly made a name for ourselves and have supplied customized drinking cups to nine out of ten of the largest open-air rock festivals in the past two years,” reports Jung. These include Rock am Ring, Rock am Park and Wacken. Individualized GIZEH cups were also used at Herbert Grönemeyer, Depeche Mode and Fury in the Slaughterhouse concerts.
The first machine for printing drinking cups as per individual client demands was purchased three years ago. The main advantage: the process is digital, meaning that there are no longer high reproduction costs for print templates, unlike in yoghurt pot printing, for example. Large-scale production of these pots takes place on a daily basis in Bergneustadt.
But not for event cups. And although quantities of this young product aren’t going through the roof just yet, Jung wants to invest in more machines. “We have only just begun to work the market. I think GIZEH Verpackungen still has plenty more opportunities to gain more customers for event cups.” One of these opportunities is the Carnival in Cologne, where the ban on glass is growing in importance.
Company keen to expand
And if the market for event cups reacts the way Jung hopes, it will be necessary to increase production. Up to 15 of these digital printing machines could run in Bergneustadt - and the number of employees could increase from 70 to 100. However, GIZEH would have to acquire additional production facilities to do so and plans to use the former area of Friedrich Ebert Foundation already exist.