Going against a basic principle of product design “form follows function”, the American brewing giant Anheuser-Busch is experimenting with the packaging of its signature brand Budweiser for the sake of innovation. Starting May 6, the company will be rolling out nationwide a new format of cans—a bow tie-shaped aluminum can that echoes Budwiser’s bow tie logo. The new product does not substitute traditional cans and will be available in an 8-pack in the US only.
The new can might be regarded the biggest engineering innovation in aluminum packaging over the last few years. It took the brand’s technologists three years to find a fit solution to make the bow tie concept feasible. The cans will be manufactured at Budweiser’s can-making facility in Newburgh, N.Y., and packaged at the breweries in LA and Williamsburd.
“We explored various shapes that would be distinguishable in the marketplace, but also viable from an engineering standpoint,” says Pat McGauley, vice president of innovation for Anheuser-Busch. “Aluminum can be stretched only about 10 percent without fracturing, which requires that the angles of the bow tie be very precise.”
With this 11.3-once packaging, referred to as “eye-catching, easy-to-grip and trendy” by Mr. McGauley, Budweiser is trying to attract young adults, a new generation of beer drinkers. The launch of the shaped can follows the redesign of Budweiser’s packaging in 2011 that emphasized the bow tie, a symbol that first appeared in a national advertising campaign for Budweiser in 1956.
The can will be available May 6 in grocery stores, supermarkets and convenience stores across the USA. A nationwide advertising campaign on TV, in printed press and social-media platform will support the launch.
While the new whimsy can may please the consumer’s eye and provide some “unexpected” holding experience, the decision to launch it for the sake of “reinvigoration” of the old iconic brand was financially risky, many experts say. Although the amounts of investment in the new production and bottling lines are not officially disclosed, the new can won’t be cheap for consumers either—they will get 11 ounce for the price of 12.