Budweiser's new bowtie can

Budweiser introduces new bow tie can

New nipped-in design is the result of a 16-step procedure (but there's .7 ounces less beer)

“The world’s most iconic beer brand deserves the world’s most unique and innovative can. I think we have it here.” So says, Pat McGauley of Budweiser’s new can shape. He’s vice president of innovation for Bud’s parent company Anheuser-Busch, and he’s mostly responsible for the can’s redesign, which will make an appearance in the US next week.

This is no tweaking of the graphics – as is usually the case - but a structural change to the container. It has taken three years to perfect, as aluminium is a metal that’s resistant to change, and if it’s pushed or pulled too far it will fracture.

With its 10-degree indentation, the can looks as if it’s half way to being crushed, as it’s squeezed in around its middle. Bud dubs this its ‘bowtie shape’, an attempt to mimic the brand’s famous bowtie logo. “We explored various shapes that would be distinguishable in the marketplace, but also viable from an engineering standpoint,” explains McGauley.

And it was a long and tortuous process to perfect the ‘nipped-in’ shape, needing “major equipment investments” at the beer’s can-making plant in Newburgh, NY, says the company. Because it’s a 16-step procedure to achieve that waistline – ten for the bottom half of the can and six for the top half.


Budweiser bowtie can advertising
Budweiser bowtie can advertising

For FMCG’s – that’s fast moving consumer goods – an iconic pack shape can have more impact than some flashy graphics. Coca-Cola remembered this as it painstakingly evolved its iconic bottle shape, while Sunpat forgot it when it dropped its highly-recognisable broad-shouldered jar in favour of something more generic.

But Bud fans beware, the crinkle comes at a cost. The new 11.3-ounce can contains .7 ounces less beer than a standard 12-ounce can. Though in packaging terms, it takes twice as much aluminium as normal cans. This might seem as a reckless misuse of the earth’s resources – though it is, of course, recyclable. But McGauley at Anheuser-Busch doesn’t pitch it quite like that. “It does have twice the aluminium in it, but we like that a lot. It feels sturdy and high quality.” Decide for youself when it goes on sale from May 6. For more innovative ways of packaging, branding and selling products with heritage, check out Michael Johnson's Problem Solved.