ST. LOUIS -- This spring, Budweiser will introduce a "striking and original" new beer can--a bowtie-shaped aluminum can that mirrors Budweiser's iconic bowtie logo. The new will be available in a special eight-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."
The proprietary can, in development since 2010, will be available only in the United States and 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.
Creating the can requires a 16-step process--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 said. "Aluminum can be stretched only about 10% without fracturing, which requires that the angles of the bowtie be very precise."
An initial run of more than 10 million bowtie cans was produced in Newburgh through March 31 for the spring introduction. An additional eight 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-oz. can of Budweiser.
"This can is certainly a conversation starter: eye-catching, easy-to-grip, trendy and--according to our research--very appealing to young adults," McGauley said. "It's a beer can like no other."
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.
The launch of the can is being supported with a marketing campaign that includes digital, print and TV. It will be offered for sale in grocery stores and supermarkets, convenience stores and packaged liquor stores.
In other packaging innovations on the horizon in the United States, Anheuser-Busch is announcing it is test-marketing in 10 states a new 25-oz. can that replaces a 24-oz. serving--giving consumers an additional ounce of beer. Sales of this new can will begin this summer.
Also, recently, Budweiser, the Official Beer Sponsor of Major League Baseball, celebrated MLB Opening Week with limited-time-only Budweiser cans and bottles. More than six million cases of Budweiser products are featureing the marks of Major League Baseball and 23 of its 30 teams, totaling more than 142 million cans and bottles nationwide. In select markets, Budweiser hosted pre-game "build-a-bars" prior to home openers, encouraging fans to celebrate the start of the baseball season.
Based in St. Louis, Anheuser-Busch--a wholly owned subsidiary of Belgium-based global brewer Anheuser-Busch InBev--is a leading American brewer. The company brews the world's largest-selling beers, Budweiser and Bud Light, and distributes these and many other popular brands through a strong network of more than 500 independent wholesalers.