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ST. LOUIS – Budweiser is changing up its standard can shape this spring with the introduction of a new bowtie-shaped aluminum can that mirrors the brewer's iconic logo. The can, which began development in 2010, will be available only in a special eight-pack in the United States starting May 6.
"This can is incomparable, like nothing you've ever seen before," stated Pat McGauley, vice president of innovation for Budweiser parent Anheuser-Busch InBev. "The world's most iconic beer brand deserves the world's most unique and innovative can. I think we have it here."
Major equipment investments at Budweiser's Newburgh, N.Y., can-making facility, along with significant capital investments to upgrade packaging at breweries in Los Angeles and Williamsburg, Va., made the new can possible.
But first, Anheuser-Busch engineers had to solve a number of technical challenges.
"We explored various shapes that would be distinguishable in the marketplace, but also viable from an engineering standpoint," McGauley noted. "Aluminum can be stretched only about 10 percent without fracturing, which requires that the angles of the bowtie be very precise."
Creating the can is a 16-step process — 10 to form the bottom of the can, and another six for the top.
Budweiser created an initial run of more than 10 million bowtie cans for spring introduction. Another 8 million cans are scheduled to be produced this month. Due to its slimmer midsection, the bowtie can holds 11.3 ounces of beer and contains about 137 calories, approximately 8.5 fewer calories than the traditional 12-ounce 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."
Budweiser is supporting the launch of the new can with a marketing campaign that includes digital, print and television advertising. The special eight-packs will be offered for sale in grocery stores and supermarkets, convenience stores and packaged liquor stores. Consumers can call (800) 342-5283 to find out where they can purchase a pack.
Anheuser-Busch also announced it will test market a new 25-ounce can that replaces a 24-ounce can in 10 states. Sales of this new can will begin this summer.