Beer Can Fan

Have you noticed over the past couple years all the innovation that has been swirling around beer cans? It all started with Coor’s Light and their vented can and their mountains that turned blue when they were just chilled enough to get consumed. At first, Coor’s Light caught some flack for introducing such innovations to their beer can, but it seems that competing companies such as Anheuser-Busch and Miller Brewing Co. are also trying to get in on the mix.

Coor’s Light started this innovation craze by introducing their “vented” and “cold activated” can. Recently they have introduced their new double vented can which is quite hilarious. It seems that Coor’s Light is even aware of this hilarity as they put out commercials that are seemingly mocking their new innovations. Not to be left behind, Budweiser is introducing the latest innovation with their “Bow tie” can. It is designed with a kink in the middle of the opening to allow for easier drinking. The interesting thing about this can is that it actually holds less beer than their traditional can. Another smaller competitor, the Boston Beer Company ,which brews Samuel Adams, reportedly spent over a million dollars in trying to design their own innovative can.

It is interesting to see all these brewing companies investing so much into providing so many innovations when in reality it does not change the actual product that is being consumed. Beer seems to be a product that is defined simply by consumers choosing it for its user-based and value-based aspects of quality. There is no secret to why people buy beer. Top executives at Anheuser-Busch are claiming that with their innovations they are trying to target consumers who are “trend-setters” and like to be ahead of the curve. Surely the companies realize they they are not changing the product, but instead trying to differentiate it by adding to the experience of drinking. By adding certain innovative features to the can, companies are trying to add quantities to their product attributes. In reality, the actual beer is the primary product and its primary characteristics are not being changed or altered by the changes being made to all these different beer cans. If anything, the changes to the beer cans appeal to the dimension aspect of quality since they are creating additional secondary characteristics for a simple can. Adding features that supposedly allow for easier, faster, and colder drinking does not change what the end result will be from consuming beer out of these innovative cans.

Next time you find yourself ordering a beer, keep in mind that the new can you might have in your hand has been designed to help you with your beer drinking experience.

13 thoughts on “Beer Can Fan

  1. Great article. I have noticed companies trying to improve and differentiate themselves from other competitors. I remember when the “twist” was added to the bottle and like you said the can that tells you when it is cold. They just keep on coming with new ideas just for the cans. I think also that companies tried to introduce new “flavors” such as “lime corona” but I do not think it was as successful as they thought it would be. They even came out with the limegaritas (which I have to say are pretty good).

  2. The title of this post definitely grabbed my attention due to the fact that I wanted to see what had to be said about a beer can in relations to operations management. To my surprise, the aspect of product design and quality are very applicable here as beer companies are spending much money in this area to differentiate their product to the public.

    As you have stated, beer doesn’t change that much. Most companies are set in their ways with their formula of creating their specific tastes of beer. However, once in a while, a beer company will introduce a new taste/flavor, such as Bud Light Lime, that will hit the market and become popular. More times than not though, when a company comes out with something new related to their product, it has been the design of their can or bottles. For Miller, their Vortex bottle was their big design change. The use of the vortex was marketed as specially designed grooves to make the beer flow smoother/faster and taste fresher.

    I think you nailed it on the head when you stated that companies are changing aspects of their cans or bottles to appeal to the dimension aspect of quality. They want to make the experience something different than just drinking out of a standard bottle, which thus would make the consumer believe the quality is superior. Whether if the beer does truly flows faster, tastes fresher, or stays colder longer, this dimension of design and quality is an interesting aspect of operations management beer companies are experimenting with.

  3. I find this somewhat funny and entertaining. However, I would like to know if these ‘innovations’ actually have an impact on sales, and if so, how significant is it. My guess would be no. Everyone I know, including myself, seems to choose their beers based on taste and price, not the features the can or bottle may come with. So all the effort and R&D the companies are dedicating to these changes may just be a waste of time and resources.

  4. I was interested in obtaining an internship with Miller Coors earlier this year and while I was researching more about the company, I realized that these beer companies are very big with innovation. Innovation is what separates popular brands from their competitors. These new designs can increase sales and they really attract younger beer fans. From my own experience I have been very attracted by these new innovations and I believe that moving forward companies need to market more towards the younger generations.

  5. As I sit here enjoying a canned beverage (a Sprite), I can’t help but wonder how much money companies place into changing their cans. When a consumer chooses a beverage, it is usually based on loyalty and taste, not so much the “innovations” that make drinking easier. When a consumer drinks, it is quench a thirst. The difficulty of consumption does not usually cross the consumers mind. Regardless, an interesting article.

  6. I agree with the comment above about how the innovation of the cans does not seem to matter that much. I feel like that the taste is the most important part for when people buy canned beverages. I also think that is why soda companies do not take that much consideration into changing the cans. But I do think it is interesting and innovative or beet companies to try and improve quality and to set themselves apart from their competitors.

  7. Thanks for an interesting article. I’m a beer snob, so I usually don’t drink beer out of cans. Personally, I’ve never really noticed a difference when drinking the Coors Light cans with the bigger holes or the twist of the Bud Light cans. I’ve often wondered why companies put money into this, and if anyone really cares. It all seems kind of pointless to me, but I guess there must be a reason for spending all that money to change their design.

  8. This is an interesting article and brings an interesting point to the table. I myself love beer, and I think all these little perks on cans are genius marketing techniques for the younger crowd. These simple little perks spark curiosity and create a buzz to where it creates more sales. I myself have fallen for alot of these beer company perks even if I know they are probably not making the beer taste better. I feel as if it is becoming a “thing” for these companies to make their beer can the most perked up as posible.

  9. I definetly think the beer companies have taken the idea of continuous improvement and applied it to their product. By redesigning cans and bottles with small changes that make the beer flow faster or aerate better, they keep their product line fresh and entice customers to drink their beer. Even if the design modifications are incremental at best, they do promote customer satisfaction and they provide the consumer with something different to look forward to. Despite the fact that these small product tweaks actually may not have a drastic effect on product performance or quality, they still serve an important purpose and help the beer companies edge out competitive advantages over others in the industry.

  10. Many of these comments, as well as this post, hit the nail on the head. Companies will do anything to be better than someone else. They figure that by having the next best thing, it will get others to buy their products. For companies like Apple, it has worked. In other cases it didn’t work because they didn’t gauge their audience. By Coors trying this out, a new drinking experience, it creates a niche that only Coors had and this can also lead to higher sales. Companies like Enterprise have been doing something like this for years, creating a niche, and if Coors can pull it off, than I believe they’ll be successful for a long time.

  11. This blog post reminded me of a pretty funny Heineken commercial from a couple years back advertising their can, essentially mocking Coors Light and the other brewing companies playing dumb to their consumers with product gimmicks. Heineken is placing an emphais on their actual product quality rather than their marketing design. However, I can’t necessarily say that I’m surprised with these companies spending all this money coming up with new product designs for their cans considering how well Coors has done recently, especially with the ‘cold activated mountains’. The link below is the youtube clip of the Heineken commercial.

  12. This is really interesting. I have never thought that by changing up the can they are actually changing your experience while drinking beer. I like that the company is not changing the taste of the beer itself to make it better. instead they are concentrating on implementing the experience in a different way that is more exciting for the customers.

  13. Interesting article. As a college student I have definitely noticed companies trying to improve and differentiate themselves from the other competitors. Michelobe Ultra has one of the lightest beers on the market, but to appeal to more consumers they have just released a Michelobe Ultra with lime flavoring. My guess is that they may have made this change because Bud Light Lime was killing them on the light beer aspect and Bud Light offered it was a lime flavor. Overall, beer companies are constantly changing because consumers always want something different.

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