The Coolest Beer Can Yet: Budweiser Vs. Boston Beer

Earlier this week, Anheuser-Busch InBev (NYSE: BUD  ) unveiled its latest efforts to improve sales of its flagship Budweiser brand with a new bowtie-shaped can.

Budweiser Bowtie can. Source: AB-InBev.

Apparently, the sleek container -- which incidentally holds 11.3 ounces of beer compared with Budweiser's traditional 12-ounce cans -- has been in development since 2010, and the first eight-packs featuring the new shape are set to go on sale on May 6.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the marketing folks behind the 118-year-old brand are hoping to target younger consumers with their new creation. As Budweiser VP of innovation Pat McGauley told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch: "We know there are a large number of consumers out there looking for new things, the trend-seekers. We expect both our core beer drinkers and new customers to try it."

Will it work?
I'm not gonna lie: As one of those younger consumers, you can bet I'll go out and buy one of those fabled eight-packs when they arrive. On that note, however, it won't be because of the beer inside.

And that, my friends, is why I'm convinced that AB-InBev's new can won't matter over the long run. Like the gimmicky vented wide-mouth cans and Vortex bottles offered by Molson Coors (NYSE: TAP  ) , AB-InBev's new design doesn't actually offer anything to beer drinkers except a cool-looking container.

Back in February, I wrote about Boston Beer's (NYSE: SAM  ) decision to put it's own flagship Samuel Adams beer in cans starting this Summer.

In that article, I noted the advice given to Boston Beer founder Jim Koch by his father after he started the company: "People don't drink the marketing; they drink the beer."

Boston Beer's new Samuel Adams Can. Image source: Boston Beer.

Unlike the offerings of its giant competitors, Boston Beer's can actually serve some functional utility for consumers. As I mentioned last time around, beer consultant Roy Desrochers described the flared lip and wider top of Boston Beer's product as working "in concert to deliver the beer in a way that makes the flavor closer to drinking out of a glass."

For the love of beer
What's more, just a few weeks ago, Boston Beer made the encouraging decision to allow all craft brewers the chance to use its new can design without any royalty or license fee, all in the name of helping their smaller kin deliver the best taste experience possible. 

As someone who wholeheartedly appreciates a good brew, I'm happy to see Boston Beer effectively epitomizing its own "For the love of beer" catch phrase.

Foolish final thoughts
Unfortunately for current industry stalwarts such as Molson-Coors and AB-InBev, McGauley was absolutely right in saying consumers are out there looking for "new things." The problem, however, is that those new things largely consist of better-tasting beers. And that's why the craft beer industry should be able to continue its meteoric rise at the expense of huge traditional brands.

While the brewing big boys will undoubtedly do their best to grab as large a slice of the craft brewing market as possible, I still think Boston Beer stands alone as the best way to play this long-term shift in drinking preferences.

What do you think? Am I giving the beer-drinking public too much credit? Sound off in the comments section below.

More expert advice from The Motley Fool
Boston Beer's Samuel Adams brand helped to redefine beer and kick off the craft beer revolution in the United States. Success breeds competition, though, and while just a few years ago Boston Beer had claim over most of the craft beer shelf, today the field is crowded. Can Boston Beer rise above the rest, or will it be squeezed between small local breweries on one side and global beer giants on the other? To help you decide, we've compiled a premium research report filled with everything you need to know about Boston Beer's risks and opportunities. Just click here now to find out whether Boston Beer is a buy today.


Read/Post Comments (13) | Recommend This Article (8)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

  • Report this Comment On April 20, 2013, at 3:44 PM, 71chevychic wrote:

    I think it is great that the big name beers want to try new things to stay fresh, but I agree changing the container look won't do much for them to get sales up. And yes I think craft beers are great but the down side is they are so much more expensive! It is hard for me to justify spending 2 to 3 times more on a 6 pack when I would rank some of them equal to the big names. But I also think it wise to have craft beers in cans...I am an outdoorsy type and a lot of my fellow outdoorsy friends love a good craft beer. The problem? If we go to certain parks, around rivers, etc and want to drink a few beers we really have to watch what we purchase because glass is illegal. So I think it's a toss up no matter how you look at it.

  • Report this Comment On April 20, 2013, at 4:27 PM, emjayay wrote:

    Glass might be better for the beer (not that I've ever noticed) but cans are a lot lighter and cool a lot faster. Cheaper shipping (lighter and more compact and not breakable), easy to carry home and take to recycling. Particularly nice for a picnic. Trader Joe's has some cheap but a lot better than certain popular brands who think a can with a waist is cool. Also I've bought low end German and other European beers in cans at good prices. And the similar to 16 ounce cans have 16.9 ounces (500 ml)!

  • Report this Comment On April 20, 2013, at 8:31 PM, deliaf wrote:

    this is a HUGH RIP OFF BY BUD! THERE IS LESS BEER IN THE NEW CAN AT THE SAME OR HIGHER PRICE THAN THE OLD CAN!!!!!!!!! RIP OFF BIG TIME FOR PIZZ WATER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Report this Comment On April 20, 2013, at 10:56 PM, hopfarmer wrote:

    Budweiser products are a triumph of marketing over taste. Bud Light is one of the most heinous brews ever but Bud spends so much money advertising it that the sheep have made it the largest selling beer in the world.

  • Report this Comment On April 21, 2013, at 7:19 AM, businessgypsy wrote:

    Who wins? The consumer who picks a real craft beer in a can. Mass-market suds are great to slake your parch after mowing the yard - but if you're drinking for taste, selections in cans go waay beyond the two norms featured in this article. As a card-carrying member of SNOB (Support Native Oregon Beers), may I suggest this guide? http://www.oregonlive.com/mix/index.ssf/beer/yes-good-beers-...

  • Report this Comment On April 21, 2013, at 8:36 AM, zleme wrote:

    Alrightee Then! Didn't read the entire article, but BUDWEISER is the best tastiest beer ever. Its a slow flow trickling down the throat flavor. So no matter what it comes in, bottle or can, it has a most delicious soothing taste. I was so happy it still exists after so many years. BUD also makes great delicious whole wheat fresh baked bread. Other great tasting beers of our time were Schaffer and Doubler. Crazee bout you BUD! Hang Tuff! The people of Upstate NY woke up to the great smell of BEER sometime ago. Boy I miss those days! Hail to the Chief of BEERS!

  • Report this Comment On April 21, 2013, at 9:57 AM, nemesis45 wrote:

    Back in February, I wrote about Boston Beer's (NYSE: SAM ) decision to put it's own flagship Samuel Adams beer in cans starting this Summer.

    When are authors & writers going to learn the difference between "it's" and "its"??? ITS is the proper word for this sentence. Thanks for allowing me to vent. Grammar is a failure these days.

  • Report this Comment On April 21, 2013, at 10:03 AM, walter2275208 wrote:

    No matter what they do to their packaging, no matter how "cute" they want to design their cans, one thing is for sure: Their beer will continue to taste like watered down urine.

  • Report this Comment On April 21, 2013, at 10:49 AM, serioso777 wrote:

    Bud was sold to Belgium, not a USA company , so I quit buying it....

  • Report this Comment On April 21, 2013, at 10:56 AM, TMFSymington wrote:

    @nemesis45, you caught me -- and I hope you'll forgive me for the grammatical travesty! Thankfully, I did manage to use the possessive form correctly elsewhere in the article. :-)

    As an aside, what do you think of the new beer cans?

    Fool on!

    Steve (TMFSymington)

  • Report this Comment On April 21, 2013, at 11:40 AM, Mikey420 wrote:

    Urine in a fancy new can!!!

  • Report this Comment On April 21, 2013, at 11:37 PM, acashlee wrote:

    my grandpa always told me "beer ain't beer unless its a stud horse piss with the foam farted off..."

  • Report this Comment On April 22, 2013, at 10:18 AM, AjitC wrote:

    SAM is going to leverage its brand and products over a larger market when it starts selling its beer in cans. This market expansion could double sales and expand profit margins.

    The market cap of SAM is only $2.1B. Very low for a nationally recognized brand. BUD market cap is 159B with double the profit margins. SAM will have to make a some canned mainstream price range ebeers that are still craft beers. Mass marketing and distribution (read Walmart, 7-11, etc) can easily turn this stock into a multi bagger!

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