Budweiser’s New Pitch: Less Beer, Pay More

  • Share
  • Read Later
Anheuser-Busch / PRNewsFoto

How’s this for a sales pitch: With Budweiser’s new can design, you’ll get less beer, and you’ll get to pay more per ounce. You’ll also get to support the aluminum industry.

Anheuser-Busch is messing with the classic 12-ounce can. Starting in May, Bud will be available in a new “bowtie”-shaped can, which is angled inward in the center, mimicking the vertical Budweiser logo created in 2011. Each of the new cans contains 137 calories of beer, 8.5 fewer calories than the usual can of Bud. And how is Anheuser-Busch lowering the per-beer calorie count? Easy! It is putting less beer inside each can. Bowtie cans, which will be sold in addition to regular cans rather than replacing them, will hold 11.3 ounces of beer.

The “shrink ray,” as the advocacy site Consumerist.com calls it, has been applied to all sorts of products over the years. Cereal boxes, bags of chips, orange juice containers, plastic soda bottles, ice cream cartons—these and countless other goods have been carefully redesigned so that manufacturers can create the illusion consumers are getting the same amount of product, even as the packages hold less than the previous models. It’s a way for manufacturers to boost revenues without appearing — to the average consumer, at least — to raise prices.

(MORE: Think There Are a Lot of Craft Breweries Out There? Just You Wait)

Now Anheuser-Busch InBev, the world’s biggest beermaker, is pointing the shrink ray at the iconic can of Bud. The company isn’t marketing the new can design this way, of course. Here’s the spin presented to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch:

“We know there are a large number of consumers out there looking for new things, the trend-seekers,” Anheuser-Busch’s vice president of innovation Pat McGauley told the Post-Dispatch. “We expect both our core beer drinkers and new customers to try it.”

It seems like A-B doesn’t expect beer drinkers to do math, however. The new cans will be sold in 8-packs rather than the standard 6-pack; this will make it more difficult for shoppers to make quick apples-to-apples price comparisons in stores. The new can will also be made of nearly double the amount of aluminum as the usual can, so that it will feel a little heavier in one’s hand. Yes, in a tricky bit of packaging ingenuity, the can with 11.3 ounces of beer won’t feel any lighter than the can holding 12 ounces of beer.

To Anheuser-Busch, this qualifies as “innovation.” “We’ve done a lot of innovation in products and we’ve been lagging in packaging,” McGauley told the Post-Dispatch. “We’re consciously working to bring innovation to the packaging side.”

(MORE: Strange Brew: When the Bottle Matters More Than the Beer Inside)

This is hardly the first time beermakers have put the focus on new cans or bottles, rather than the product inside. Coors Light, Miller Lite, and others have come in all sorts of aluminum beer bottles, and some designs feature a “grip can,” with raised ink designed to resemble the feel of a football.

Two newish Anheuser-Busch products—Bud Light Platinum and Beck’s Sapphire—were purposefully created to come in atypical, eye-catching bottles that stand apart from the pack. When the packaging matters more than the beer, that doesn’t say a lot about the beer, of course.

But the beermaker seems game for trying almost anything to boost sales—especially among young people, and especially for its signature brew, Budweiser. Bud sales have been plummeting for years, as younger drinkers especially have increasingly demonstrated a preference for wine, craft brews, and hip vodkas and other spirits.

(MORE: How Budweiser Is Trying to Lose Its Stale Image and Appeal to Younger Drinkers)

Given that many younger drinkers seem disinclined to chose Budweiser, maybe they’ll like the new bowtie cans. After all, there’s less Bud to drink inside each one.

41 comments
selnari
selnari

Your article definitely worth looking through. I recently found the application well written and then quickly logical. I must personally we understand the time you devote to create the application. 

Regards,

http://kiosprodukkecantikan.com

ShaneFalkowski
ShaneFalkowski

Maybe my math is wrong but 6 12-ounce cans totals to 72 ounces and 8 11.3-ounce cans amounts  to 90.4 ounces total. At my local gas stations and grocery stores, both the 6 pack 12-ounce and the 8-pack 11.3-ounce packages sell for $6.99. That would make the 8-pack cheaper by around 2-cents per ounce. There is also an 8-pack of 16-ounce cans that are priced at $11.99. I may be confused but if you're comparing a 6 12-ounce beers to 8 11.3-ounce beers at the same price, the 11.3 ounce beer is cheaper per fluid ounce.

EricSlyter
EricSlyter

And as Bud sales plummet, PBR sales rise.  Strange, eh?

ChrisMartin1
ChrisMartin1

Lol keep going to beer advocate and trying to see others opinions and ratings on what your about to drink!!! Nice way to be original since that's what you think you are. It's funny we'll beer advocate only have this beer a 2.4, it must not be that good!!! Give me a break, get over yourself!! It's living proof Walmart is the worst corporation in the world to not only its employees but its consumers and the American people!! How many of you shop there? Go try and be a snob somewhere else!!

ChrisMartin1
ChrisMartin1

Your entire article is incorrect, and you are ignorant in your comments, they are not switching all there cans over to this package, it's one single 12oz package that's going to be a limited edition package, which is going to be ran at a discounted price for consumers! Every bud can package will be the same, it's a limited package so many collectors will want to purchase this!!! And it may spawn a few younger drinkers to pick up a bud, since almost %70 percent of the drinkers hitting the drinking age will never try a bud. Much of the younger crowd is trying new, more expensive, craft and imports, which are at a higher price than your domestics!! So who's ripping who off? Pay 10.99 for a six pack that alot of times is out of date, due to sitting on a dock or boat or back room for 6 months!! It is not made anywhere near to the quality or manufacturing classifications that many domestics are!! They talk about better ingredients and less adjuncts, which is not true at All.. So I understand its your job to get people to talk and want to battle about the subjects you blog about! So cheers to you sir!! But you are uneducated in your comments do some more research, and have a nice day!!

MarkHolland
MarkHolland

How can aluminum be cheaper than beer? It isn't. This makes no sense.

BevRobertson
BevRobertson

The Old English joke doesn't work unless you tell it right. The word "close" should be "near".

theresbeerinbud?
theresbeerinbud?

Old English joke - what's the similarity between Budweiser and making love in a canoe?

They're both f**king close to water...

FredSnurd
FredSnurd

I do not see it as raising the price of beer....of there is more aluminum in the can; then bud will be paying for more aluminum and the cost of shipping heavier cans to the brewery.......

JamesLyons
JamesLyons

Bud is the only beer that gave me a hangover while drinking it. That was the first and last time of drinking that swill..

BeerHere20101
BeerHere20101

GENIUS!  Genius, I tells ya!!  Thanking you in advance for #craftbeer brewers everywhere.  Just keep doing what you're doing.  GENIUS!!  

travitz53
travitz53

Whether it's beer, mac and cheese, Ice Cream, rice, canned veggies, you're getting less for more money. Everything is becoming "specialized" and commoditized.  This has been going on for decades, and has become the norm the past decade, as companies now need to "show Profit and Growth" to become sustainable.  Getting by is no longer an option in business. you must beat the other guys, or buy them.  

mbutler91c
mbutler91c

So...you can pay more for crap beer in a crappy can...great advertising there, Bud. Drink local and regional high quality craft beers instead.

rmty
rmty

Mich ultra cans & bottles are already "light".

JillBeattie-Green
JillBeattie-Green

I suspect that people will realize that they're getting less beer right away. :P

MikePerry
MikePerry

Wow love how dumb these companies think we all are oh we didn't notice by there cute packaging .BullCrap just charge more like you always have anf leave the size alone .BOYCOTT BUDWEISER its not american anymore anyway.

archibaldchuzzlewit
archibaldchuzzlewit

Their "beer" is terrible, and now they want you to pay more for it by giving you less....lovely.

JaySchuls
JaySchuls

next the clydesdale horses and beer wagon will be replaced with miniature horse and a kiddie wagon 

Pumbaa
Pumbaa

Just another reason NOT to drink this beer.  Some companies with smaller than 12 oz bottles make their beer with more alcohol, like 7 to 10 percent.

PaulMarion
PaulMarion

I pity the fools who drink Budweiser.... SUCKERS!

ElfOdin
ElfOdin

11.3 fluid ounces is approximate 330mL. Budweiser's going metric.

LedaWill
LedaWill

It still tastes like piss, so until that changes I won't be purchasing Budweiser anytime soon.

tscohen
tscohen

“No one ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American public.”  (Although this saying is often credited to HL Mencken, it’s actually a paraphrase of something he wrote in his column in the September 19, 1926 edition of the Chicago Daily Tribune.)

obdoqbopqo
obdoqbopqo

Buying Budweiser was already an IQ test, anyway.  If you bought it, then you fail the test.


This just puts the urine-flavored icing on the fecal cake.

dhartm2
dhartm2

@ChrisMartin1What you've just said is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever heard. At no point in your rambling, incoherent response were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.

UleNotknow
UleNotknow

@BevRobertson@"Old English joke - what's the similarity between Budweiser and making love in a canoe?

They're both eff-ing close to water..."

----------------------
It makes perfect sense if you understand the idiom.

We dare not open any discussion of English beer as the censors would surely flag just the subject as obscene.

UleNotknow
UleNotknow

@ElfOdin ... and 12 ounces is "approximately" 335 ml. "Approximately" doesn't cut the mustard.

herrermm
herrermm

Metric or not, it's still 'Buttwiper Beer.'

UleNotknow
UleNotknow

@LedaWill You've been drinking piss again? I've told you and told you and told you...

FredSnurd
FredSnurd

@LedaWill I see you drink piss...otherwise you would not know that it tastes like piss....

BevRobertson
BevRobertson

@UleNotknow @BevRobertson The joke depends on the word in question, you seem to prefer "close", I prefer "near" having two meanings. They both convey "in the vicinity of" but in my English, "effing near" also means "similar" as well. In my English, "effing close" does not mean "similar". Perhaps it does in yours.