The Beer Can: A Patriotic Marketing Tool for Breweries

Most beer cans have a relatively recognizable design – the classic Budweiser can is an excellent example. Once a brewery hits on a good design for their cans, they’re usually pretty wary about making too many changes to it. That makes a lot of sense. A good design is immediately recognizable to the company’s customers and makes for good advertising. Changes can lead to confusion with buyers and can even make it hard to find the beer on a store’s shelves. However, with that being said, quite a few companies are making changes to their can designs.

Budweiser is once again the most obvious example here. The brewery has not ditched their usual can design completely, but they have added a lot to their lineup. They’ve taken great pains to keep some things in common across the board, though. Consider their standard can design: the colors are red, white and blue. The limited edition Memorial Day can design capitalizes on that color theme by wrapping the beer in a semblance of the American flag to appeal to patriotic buyers and to celebrate the holiday.

The company has done a few other things as well. Flag Day will be marked by a happy-hour event held all around the country. Anheuser-Busch has also started a program that donates to the Folds of Honor Foundation. For every home run made in MLB, Budweiser will donate $100 to the charity, which helps families of veterans disabled or killed in action by providing scholarship assistance. 

Bud is not the only company capitalizing on patriotic sentiment, either. Miller is getting in on the action by continuing their donation program started in 2010. For each specially marked bottle cap returned to the company, they will donate .10 to the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America charitable organization. The program is getting more attention this year as Miller has added a yellow ribbon to the back of their cans and has undertaking a TV marketing campaign highlighting their donations and charitable work as well.

Of course, there are other patriotic marketing programs run by breweries that seem to kick off during the summer months. Most craft brewers seem not to have taken advantage of this trend, though that might simply be because changing packaging for beer can be enormously expensive and the number of hoops that must be gone through to get governmental approval is immense.

Posted on July 1, 2012 and filed under Design and Packaging.