This could be the year of the wide-mouth, or the gripper bottle, or even the 18-pack golf course box.
are planning to introduce "wide-mouth" single-serve bottles to supermarket shelves this spring, and others are gearing up for different packaging alternatives.
Golden, Colo.-based Coors Brewing Co. teamed with Anchor Glass to develop a 16-ounce, reclosable, wide-mouth bottle that has a 360-degree relief depiction of a mountain scene on the shoulder. Coors Light began test marketing the bottle in February and will go national in a few months, the company said.
Stroh Brewery Co., Detroit, is introducing wide-mouth 20-ounce bottles for its Schlitz Malt Liquor and Old Milwaukee lines. The bottles began rolling out late last month and feature a reclosable aluminum cap, as does the Coors Light bottle.
Stroh is also planning a 16-ounce "gripper" bottle, said Mark Duchovic, director of customer marketing. "The gripper bottle has some grooves to make it easier for the consumer to hold. This is patented technology. We're pretty optimistic about this product," he said.
Mark Holdren, system vice president of marketing promotions at Rochester, N.Y.-based Genesee Brewing Corp., said the regional brewer is testing a wide variety of packaging sizes.
"We have the equipment to do 12-, 15-, 18-, 20-, 24-, 30- and 36-packs. The trend is 'bigger is better,' " he explained. "We've had 30-packs for about six months in New York and New England. We have also been doing some things with 36-packs in Pennsylvania, and we've done some things with 18-packs.
"But it is also a price-sensitive issue and the product has got to be a bargain. Where we've done large packs, we've had a mail-in rebate," he said.
This month industry leader Anheuser-Busch, St. Louis, is rolling out special 18-pack boxes of its Michelob, Michelob Light and Michelob Dry beers to tie in with the PGA Tour. Each pack contains a certificate good for a free sleeve of Wilson golf balls, worth up to $10, that can be redeemed at any pro shop across the country.
"The 18-pack was first tried last year and was the single biggest promotion in Michelob's almost 100-year-old history," said Mike Lenzen, an Anheuser-Busch spokesman. "So we're reprising it, but we're going one step further" with the golf ball certificate. The promotion will run until June.