For years, consumers have been able to walk into a Starbucks café and order a nonfat grande extra hot latte with whip without any questions asked. This ease of customization could have tipped us off years ago to the customization trend that we’re seeing today. Nevertheless, the number of liquid concentrates hitting the market confirms that it’s in full force with consumers. And soon, a new line of ink coatings might bring the trend to retail shelves in a different way.

Hartness International, a division of Illinois Tool Works Inc. (ITW), is in the process of releasing its electrostatically applied ultraviolet (UV) ink coatings, which will allow beverage-makers to turn a clear glass bottle into a colorful marketing tool. Using any color on the Pantone scale, glass bottles can be coated in ink for a translucent or opaque color effect. Beverage bottles could be the new Apple iPod Nano — when it comes to a colorful exterior, anyway. Plus, they tie into consumers’ desires to be more eco-friendly. According to Sean Hartness, vice president of Hartness International, the bottles can be recycled with other clear glass bottles because the ink coating is burned off as a carbon derivative when it’s put back into the furnace.

 Considering the continuing proliferation of SKUs in the beverage space, using primary packaging to differentiate a product is more important than ever. And in a customizable culture such as ours, there could be many colorful options ahead when it comes to beverage containers.