My Beer Can Is Better Than Yours: Aluminum Can-ovations for Better Beer Drinking

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Tim Oram / Getty Images

You might think that one beer can is the same as any other. Big beer companies and craft brewers alike say different, and they’re rolling out new cans with wider mouths and funky designs that they claim make for vastly superior beer drinking.

Beer makers around the U.S. are trying to draw the attention (and thirst) of drinkers lately with something of an aluminum revolution. The most talked-about new beer vessel has to Budweiser’s angular “bowtie” can, which kinks in at the center—and, interestingly, holds less beer than the usual can. This spring and summer, Anheuser-Busch InBev will also be selling Budweiser in limited-edition “patriotic packaging”—red-white-and-blue American flag cans (and bottles)—with a portion of sales going to benefit the Folds of Honor Foundation, which gives scholarships to families of American soldiers killed or disabled in service.

Anheuser-Busch executives say that the bowtie can is meant to appeal to consumers who are “looking for new things, the trend-seekers.” No one is claiming that Budweiser will taste any different in a bowtie can, or in an American flag can for that matter. On the other hand, most other brewers that are introducing new cans at least make an attempt to argue that the new design somehow enhances the drinking experience.

Coors Light has been mocked in the past for its beer can “innovations,” which included a vented wide-mouth can for “easier drinking” and the “cold-activated” can, in which the mountains on the logo turn blue when the can is chilled. Now, the brand is simultaneously mocking itself while introducing yet another “can-ovation” of dubious purpose.

(MORE: Budweiser’s New ‘Bowtie’ Can Design: More Aluminum, Less Beer)

Coors Light’s new “double vent wide mouth” design—if a regular vent wide mouth was good, then a double vent must be doubly good—is being billed as “The World’s Most Refreshing Can.” In one intentionally ridiculous ad, the can is compared to rapper-director Ice Cube; in another, a giant multi-armed robot machine toils to create the fancy new can, while a scientist in a white lab coat does an over-the-top movie-preview type voiceover proclaiming that the design will “revolutionize barbecues, beach parties, and tailgates” and “eliminate oppressive heat around the world.” What’s brilliant about this hyperbole, as the Chicago Business Journal noted, is that Coors Light is enticing consumers to want to try out this can while acknowledging the design is basically absurd.

It’s not just the world’s giant beer makers that are toying with can designs. A special “topless” can design was introduced recently for Helles Golden Lager, a craft beer made by the Pennsylvania brewery Sly Fox. The can “drinks like a glass” because the entire top peels off in soup can-like fashion, allowing the drinker to enjoy the aroma of the beverage, supposedly enhancing the experience.

Earlier this year, the Boston Globe reported that the Boston Beer Company, brewer of Samuel Adams, had spent two years and more than $1 million trying to come up with a can design that would be approved of by company founder Jim Koch. The result looks, well, it looks mostly like a regular 12-ounce beer can, but with subtle differences noted by the Globe:

The bigger lid forces people to open their mouths wider, allowing more air to pass through and go up into the nasal passages. This increased exposure to the smells brings out the flavors of the beer — the hops, the grains, the fruitiness — earlier in the drinking experience, which is what consumers associate with a fresher beverage, according to [professional beer taster and consultant Roy] Desrochers. And the outward-turned lip pours the beer directly on the palate, maximizing the sweetness from the malt.

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

Samuel Adams’ traditional Boston lager and Summer Ale are being sold in cans for the first time ever this spring.

24 comments
silverwing82
silverwing82

Charmin hires blue chip ad firms to find something new in toilet paper to sing about at least once a year... Beer is beer.. like toilet paper is toilet paper. There are millions of dollars spent designing and broadcasting some noise to catch a millisecond of consumer attention in an ever increasing cacophony of background noise..  An instructor once tasked us with developing a factual sales patter /  pitch on carpet to last 3 minutes without repeating things.  It was amazing how quick we ran out of things to say..  

This is my new and improved opinion...  

MelStricker
MelStricker

No beer tastes good out of a can.  You need to pour the beer into a glass and in a pinch use a bottle but never ever a can.  Changes the taste of the beer.  If you drink Bud, Miller of any lite beer then it doesn't matter, all that is garbage anyway.

ChikuMisra
ChikuMisra like.author.displayName 1 Like

Only idiots drink alcohol.

ScottisLovingLife
ScottisLovingLife

@ChikuMisra Talk to to all the Harvard Doctoral Graduates who drink regularly and see what they say to your close minded comment lol!!

ShaneMeeker
ShaneMeeker

The most talked-about new beer vessel has to Budweiser’s angular “bowtie” can, which kinks in at the center—and, interestingly, holds less beer than the usual can.


Just another ploy at product downsizing. You get bet the price won't go down with the quantity of beer in the can. Ever since the Belgians bought them out, they company has gotten greedy and went down hill.

tomstock
tomstock

When the beer tastes like Urine, these are the sort of things you do to sell your product.

bdwilkin
bdwilkin

Any brewer that spends time trying to market their container, obviously doesn't have a quality tasting beer to fill it.

zen_bones
zen_bones like.author.displayName 1 Like

Heady Topper is one masterful American brew (Vermont) - Google it and see why its rated one of the worlds best (and from a can at  that!)

Neondancer
Neondancer like.author.displayName 1 Like

When it comes to canned beer, Oskar Blues or gtfo!  Not only is it damn tasty brews they do, their beer can chicken is excellent if you ever get a chance to grab some. 

cleverlyc
cleverlyc like.author.displayName 1 Like

Turning the American Flag into marketing for your beer is sick. Stop misusing the flag!!!

Mabus51
Mabus51

@cleverlyc The only thing sick about it is that Budweiser is doing it. A company that was so founded in the roots of America but sold itself to Belgium a few years back. 

erexx
erexx like.author.displayName 1 Like

@espanole24@elhamb3166
Many Americans are hooked on the Crack beers that were first crafted in because of World War 2
However since the early 90's there has been a huge increase in the popularity and quality of beer made in the USA.

elhamb3166
elhamb3166

American beer is watery swill.  It matters not how you package it.  Swill is swill.

irunner
irunner like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 2 Like

What you refer to as American beer - Budweiser, Miller, Coors - are all foreign-owned companies.  There are countless craft brewers that are American-owned and far superior to the watery swill (aka yellow fizzy).  Wake up and smell the hops!

espanole24
espanole24 like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 4 Like

@elhamb3166 where in the world have you been living the last ten years? The US has the most breweries of any country in the world - the vast majority of which make a wide range of full-flavored styles. We have an entire subculture which has been booming over the past decade of true beer lovers, and authentic, artisinal breweries. Gone are the days when the only American options were factory produced yellow fizz-water. I suggest you check your facts, or at least try drinking some offerings from one of the 2,000 US craft breweries, before making ignorant statements like the one above. Cheers.

EricSlyter
EricSlyter like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 3 Like

@espanole24 @elhamb3166 True.  American beer used to be watery swill, but now it's a different story.  More or less, you can name any style of beer in existence and bet that it's made somewhere in America.  Of course, some beers, like Budweiser for example, are still watery swill.  But it's telling that Bud sales are declining.

Travon
Travon like.author.displayName 1 Like

Coke, Pepsi and other 'sin' companies are facing a lot of issues that can wipe them out of the top earning companies. Now there would be a good chance that the Alcohol business would be next in line to avoid OBESITY. Vivek Sood mentioned in his book The 5-Star Business Networks that innovation is important for business and the different strategies the company will present. Now it is time to do some strategy like this. Or if they can, make a beer that is HEALTHY?


Mabus51
Mabus51

@Travon There are a ton of low calorie beers out there. They all suck in my opinion, but they're out there. 

grezeszakb
grezeszakb

@Travon - unlike sugary drinks, beer in the right quantities is very healthy. It does have calories, as everything does, so when drank in large amounts it will add to a high calorie diet and add weight to a person. But, like all healthy food and drink, when used in proper quantities it's very healthy.

BorisIII
BorisIII like.author.displayName 1 Like

Another example of advertisers taking advantage of followers.  The beer still taste the same.

Mabus51
Mabus51

@BorisIII How are they taking advantage of followers? You'd still buy the same beer no matter the can or bottle. 

BorisIII
BorisIII

Because followers are all ways trying to figure out what will make them more popular.  Like the next hip beer.  Which most beer ads use to convince people to buy their beer.  Its a young persons game.  Eventually people start to decide too just be themselves.  Such as when they get married and have kids.