Canadian Packaging

Bowtie one on with Budweiser

By Canadian Packaging Staff   

General aluminum beverage can Anheuser-Busch beer Budweiser Budweiser bowtie can

Budweiser introduces a bowtie-shaped can in the U.S.

While the majority of the men on this planet probably have no clue how to tie a bowtie, they probably know how to tie one on.

Regardless of one’s drinking or fashion habits, Anheuser-Busch has created an unique shape for its iconic Budweiser beer—a can that mimics the shape of the brand’s own iconic logo.

Yes. It’s true. While no one ever dreamed of drinking beer from one, Anheuser-Busch is betting a lot of people will want to sip a brewskie from a bowtie-shaped aluminum can that mirrors the Budweiser bowtie logo… or maybe it just looks like a shipping accident.

The very interestingly-shaped bowtie cans will be available via a special eight-pack on store shelves across the U.S. (and no where else) beginning May 6, 2013.

“This can is incomparable—like nothing you’ve ever seen before,” says Anheuser-Busch vice-president of innovation Pat McGauley. “The world’s most iconic beer brand deserves the world’s most unique and innovative can. I think we have it here.”

It certainly is unique in the annals of canned beer. In development since 2010, Anheuser-Busch is adamant that it will not replace the traditional Budweiser can.

While one might assume the cans were formed by a machine simply squeezing a standard cylinder in shape, that is not the Anheuser-Busch way.

To make the new can possible, Anheuser-Busch engineers needed to solve a number of technical challenges, and major equipment investments were required at the Budweiser can-making facility in Newburgh, N.Y.

And, because innovation is seldom cheap, 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.

The Newburgh facility has the proprietary equipment that that shapes the can, a process that actually takes 16 steps—10 steps to form the bottom half of the can, with an additional six steps to form the top portion.

The Anheuser-Busch Global Innovation Group has been investigating potential can innovations for several years.

“We explored various shapes that would be distinguishable in the marketplace, but also viable from an engineering standpoint,” McGauley notes.  “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., with an additional eight million cans scheduled to be produced during April.

According to Anheuser-Busch, due to the can’s slimmer middle and sleek design, the bowtie can holds 11.3 ounces of beer and has about 137 calories, approximately 8.5 fewer calories than a traditional 12-ounce can of Budweiser—which is important only if dedicated beer drinkers care about their form over beer substance. But still, Anheuser-Busch thinks it has a winner on its hands.

“This can is certainly a conversation starter: eye-catching, easy-to-grip, trendy and—according to our research—very appealing to young adults,” McGauley states. “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 company lore, 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 1956.

For Anheuser-Busch, 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, the crowd-sourced fan favorite introduced earlier this year,” McGauley adds.

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.

U.S. consumers interested in locating where they can purchase the special eight-pack can call 1-800-dial-Bud.

In other packaging innovations on the horizon in the U.S. for Anheuser-Busch, the company is announcing it is test-marketing in 10 states a new 25-ounce can that replaces a 24-ounce serving – giving consumers an additional ounce of beer. Sales of this new can will begin this summer. There is no news mentioning if the price point will remain the same, however.

One does have to hand it to Budweiser for its continued marketing and advertising campaigns, along with the advent of new brands, while maintaining the well-deserved status and 137-year-old rich heritage that sees it easily maintaining its Number One U.S. ranking in sales, selling more than its four nearest competitors combined.

Budweiser, an American-style lager, was introduced in 1876 when company founder Adolphus Busch set out to create the United States’ first truly national beer brand – brewed to be universally popular and transcend regional tastes.

The beer is a medium-bodied, flavorful, crisp and pure beverage, with blended layers of premium American and European hop aromas, brewed for the perfect balance of flavor and refreshment. It is made using time-honored methods including “kraeusening” for natural carbonation and Beechwood aging.


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