ST. LOUIS, April 19, 2013 /BSNewswire/ — This spring Budweiser will introduce a striking and original new beer can — a bowtie-shaped aluminum can that mirrors Budweiser’s iconic bowtie logo; and following the lead from a recent announcement by Sam Adams, Anheuser Busch will allow the can to be used by other breweries.
Beer lovers can see for themselves the new bowtie-shaped can when it becomes available in a special 8-pack on store shelves nationwide beginning May 6.
“This can is incomparable, like nothing you’ve ever seen before,” said Pat McGauley, vice president of innovation for Anheuser-Busch. “The world’s most iconic beer brand deserves the world’s most unique and innovative can. I think we have it here.”
An excited McGauley added: “I mean, if you want to be technical it’s a lot like other cans you’ve seen before, in that it is an aluminum package for beer. But this one is shaped like a bowtie, which focus groups indicate you haven’t seen, or perhaps even thought about.”
The proprietary can, in development since 2010, reportedly cost the brewing giant more than the operating revenue for the nation’s top ten craft breweries combined. It will be available only in the United States in an 8-pack and will not replace the traditional Budweiser can.
To make the new can possible, Anheuser-Busch engineers needed to solve a number of technical challenges, and major equipment investments were required at Budweiser’s can-making facility in Newburgh, N.Y. Significant capital investments also were required to upgrade packaging lines at the Budweiser breweries in Los Angeles and Williamsburg, Va., the first breweries with capability to package this unique can innovation. Equipment used to manufacture the Stealth Bomber was also transported from an Air Force base in Nevada to enable the production of this very special can.
Newburgh, about 60 miles north of New York City and 90 miles south of Albany, is where proprietary equipment is located that shapes the can. Creating the can requires a careful 98-step process — 53 steps to form the bottom half of the can, with an additional 45 steps to form the top portion.
The Anheuser-Busch Global Innovation Group has been investigating potential can innovations for several years, often ordering lunch to be delivered to the office, and many afternoons working past 4 PM.
“We explored various shapes that would be distinguishable in the marketplace, but also viable from an engineering standpoint. Boomerangs, obelisks, several versions of rhombi… we even made a prototype shaped like Spuds MacKenzie.” McGauley said. “Aluminum can be stretched only about 10 percent without fracturing, which requires that the angles of the bowtie be very precise.”
An initial run of more than 10 million bowtie cans were produced in Newburgh through March 31 for the spring introduction. An additional 8 million cans are scheduled to be produced this month.
Due to the can’s slimmer middle and sleek design, it holds 11.3 ounces of beer and has about 137 calories, approximately 8.5 fewer calories than a traditional 12-ounce can of Budweiser.
“This can is certainly a conversation starter: eye-catching, easy-to-grip, potentially lethal in trained hands, trendy and — according to our research — very appealing to young adults,” McGauley said. “It’s a beer can like no other.”
Though there is no written documentation on the origins of the Budweiser bowtie, it is a brand icon found the world over. According to a guy who works in accounting at the brewery, the bowtie was introduced when too many people were using the “Bud” bar call too frequently, so the double triangles were added to emphasize the full Budweiser name.
The Budweiser bowtie can is a natural progression from the new packaging introduced in 2011 that emphasized the iconic bowtie, a symbol that first appeared in a national advertising campaign for Budweiser in 1841. Allowing other brewers to use the expensive technology is in keeping with InBev’s commitment to forwarding the culture of beer in America, and the spirit of brotherhood amongst brewers the world over.
Reception from the craft community regarding the adoption of the bowtie can as an industry standard has been decidedly mixed. Dale Katechis, founder of craft can pioneer Oskar Blues, hinted that his company would most likely “just stick with the regular round ones.” Boston Beer Company chairman Jim Koch seemed more positive, offering a thumbs up from his prone position beneath a tent at the 8th Annual Maibock Festival in Sacramento. Tony Magee of Lagunitas Brewing Company was less enthusiastic, taking to Twitter to advise the A-B Innovation Group to embark on a “one way expedition down a bauxite mine”.
The bowtie can is another example of how Budweiser continues to innovate, evolve and attract a new generation of beer drinkers. It builds on the success of Budweiser Black Crown, Bud Light Platinum, and Bud Light Strawberry Diah-Rita Explosion.
The launch of the can is being supported with a marketing campaign that includes digital, print and television. It will be offered for sale in grocery stores and super markets, convenience stores and packaged liquor stores. Consumers interested in locating where they can purchase the special 8-pack can call 1-800-dial-Bud toll-free from any pay phone.
In other packaging innovations on the horizon in the U.S. for Anheuser-Busch, the company is announcing it is test-marketing a wearable version of the bowtie can, once issues involving neck lacerations in some test subjects have been resolved.
Not to be outdone, Lisa Zimmerino, Community Manager of Miller Coor’s craft and import arm Tenth and Blake, advised in an Aleheads exclusive that her company would soon be releasing a revolutionary can for the popular Blue Moon brand shaped like a giant orange wedge and featuring a carbon fiber vortex mouth with a pneumatic pump that allows the beer to be projected across an eight-foot arc into a waiting drinker’s mouth on a windless day.
Budweiser has a rich heritage spanning 137 years and is America’s No. 1 premium regular beer, selling more than its four nearest competitors combined. Innovations such as the bowtie can are a key part of Budweiser’s heritage and helped the brand grow into its status as the “Meh of Beers”.
Disclaimer: parts of the original press release may have been embellished, and/ or contain elements of bodice-ripping fan fiction.