Big Beer and the Fine Art of Packaging

Lately I have been seeing (ad nauseam) a commercial for Coors Light featuring their innovative vented can, which allows for an “easy pour”. At the same time, there has been a lot in the news about the decline in sales of mass market beer. I even came across an article on the nine beers we no longer drink showing that North Americans really are changing their allegiances to big beer.

This got me to thinking could there be a connection between the two? Will a gimmicky can bring home the errant flocks? When it comes to big beer do we care more about what is on the outside than the inside?


Novelty vessels are by no means new and therefore cannot be said to simply be a knee-jerk reaction to the downward spiral in sales. It is also highly unlikely opening a beer can like you would a can of apple juice is going to bring back the misplaced masses. Nonetheless if the next best thing in beer packaging does not right the world at least revisiting some of the high points (?) in these beer gimmicks does make for good blog fodder.

Here are some of my favourites.


The Coors Light Vented Can

Remember when you were young and your Mom would open a big can of apple juice with one of those nifty church-keys punching a hole in either side so the apple juice streamed out all pretty? Did you ever wish you could re-create that feeling with your beer?

Well rest soundly my friend, now you can do just that all thanks to the latest innovation in beer cans. Introducing the Coors Light vented can. According to a Newswire article:

The Vented Can has a specially designed top with a distinctive red tab and a button-shape to the right of the can opening. Activation of the vent can be achieved in 3 easy steps and doesn’t require the aid of special tools:

  1. Open
  2. Turn – align the red tab over the button
  3. Vent – Press down to activate extra opening

Coors Light Vented Can


The Coors Light Two-Stage Cold Can and Bottle.

For those of you unlucky enough to be born without a sense of touch or with temperature blindness, the two-stage cold label affixed to bottles of Coors Light and the two-stage aluminum cans of Coors Light were designed to let you know just when your beer was cold enough to stomach, I mean to drink.

“When the mountains turn blue it’s as cold as the Rockies”.

Coors Light Label


The Vortex Bottle from Miller.

You know how the rifling down the barrel of a gun adds spin to the bullet as it passes through therefore increasing its’ stability and accuracy? Well obviously this principle should hold true for beer as well.

If you have had difficulties getting the beer from the bottle to your glass, or worse still, to your mouth, take heart Miller Lite has found the solution.

Miller Lite Vortex Bottle


The Bow Tie Can from Budweiser.

Sometimes you find yourself in that rare situation where you are invited to a black-tie gala that is also B.Y.O.B. You want to bring something that says I am a person of the people but at the same time you want your selection to have a touch of class.

May I present for your consideration the bow tie can from Budweiser.

Nevermind that you technically get less beer than you would in a regular can, sipping from a bow tie only further cements your image as a mature and sophisticated tippler.

Budweiser Bow Tie Can


The Cube from Heineken

You get home after a hard days work and you open your fridge in hopes of kicking back with half a dozen beers but wait a minute your fridge is literally filled with useless misshapen items like cauliflowers and ketchup taking up valuable space. If you are lucky you can fit a few bottles on the top shelf.

Innovation to the rescue once more.

Here is the highly stackable Heineken cube. Beer in a square bottle? Nifty!

heineken cube


The Wide Mouth Aluminum Bottle from Molson Coors.

If the whole idea of bottle rifling conflicts with your pacifist worldview but you really do wish it were easier to make that leap from bottle to mouth do not despair because Molson has another alternative for you.

As an added bonus if you are distressed because the significant other in your life threatened to leave you over your refusal to drink beer from a bottle, consider this your olive branch.

A bottle mouth so wide you will be sure to get the maximum volume in the minimum time allowed while hopefully not wasting a drop and. as an added bonus, a vessel that bridges the great divide between can and bottle.

Wide Mouth Bottles



The Illuminated Bottle from Heineken

Don’t you hate it when your are all dressed up at the club, the black lights come on and you find out your favourite beer did not make an effort at all? Or worse yet you put your beer down, at night, and suddenly there is a country-wide power outage. The only tool at your disposal is a black light but is is pretty much useless right? Wrong.

Marketing to the rescue once again kiddos as the illuminated bottles from Heineken can throw some light on an otherwise dark situation. Designed with special inks that come alive under black light you may never misplace your beer again and you’ll look cool drinking from it.

Another offshoot of this idea has bottles that light-up when you clink them together, which I have to admit is pretty cool.

Heineken Illuminated Bottles



The Write-On Label from Bud Light.

All your closest beer geek friends are over for dinner and since you all have the same excellent taste in beer, at one point in your evening you look over to the credenza to find, horror of horrors, a dozen or so open Fat Tug IPA’s in row with no means to extricate your beer from the rest of the dirty dozen.

Let me tell you that in this scenario you are clearly drinking the wrong beer because if you had wisely chosen Bud Light you could benefit from their write-on labels all the while avoiding an inevitable case of the cooties.

Never lose your brew in a crowd again. Write-on labels do for day beer what the illuminated bottles do for night beer, they let you identify your errant beer and, if you so desire, let you fly your creative freak flag.

If you have a key, a coin or a fingernail (hopefully you have one of these things) you can scratch whatever strikes your fancy on the label of your beer.

(Disclaimer: even though this beer bottle is sporting my actual non-blogger name this was not, I repeat, not my Bud Light though I am flattered they chose to use my name in their marketing.)

Bud Light Write-On Label


Now before you pat yourself on the back too hard thinking the craft beer would never stoop to such gimmicks to shill their product I will leave you with this image…


Brew Dog

*Thanks to all the brewery websites and new articles with media images for the photographs used in this post.


6 responses to “Big Beer and the Fine Art of Packaging

  • mikescraftbeer

    I really like the aluminum bottles from base camp. They don’t break in a multi day backpacking trip. I still always pour the beer into a cup though. A can you missed out on is from a micro. I think it was Brooklyn Brewing who have s can where the entire top of the can is removable. This way if you have no choice but to drink from the can you still can but you don’t have to loose out on aroma.

    • Sara

      Good point on the aluminum bottles. Not knocking any of these ideas just having fun with the out of the box gimmicks 🙂 I did see those cans with the removable tops but I tried to limit myself to the big beer companies for space, I even left out several others like Bubba from Molson or keg cans from Heineken …too much good stuff!

      • mikescraftbeer

        I think you have to make a sequel post now. Haha. Beyond the gimmicks I hope the removable top cans come here as it would reduce my backpack weight when overnighting in the wilderness. After drinking one there is a cup for anything else I need.

      • Sara

        I like sequels 🙂 Lightening the load when hiking is always beneficial; maybe you’ll come up with a Platypus for beer!

      • mikescraftbeer

        Those look cool to. Only thing is like a growler once it’s open its gotta be finished. Also they are not as easy to fill without oxygen.

  • Jay B.

    I really like those stackable Heineken cubes (although I definitely don’t like their beer). This packaging could be quickly repurposed in every household and therefore is even greener than you might think.

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