I walked into Poor Richards last night to see a mini bottle of Boulevard’s Tank 7 staring at me on the shelf. When did this happen? Tank 7 is one of my favorite Saison’s and I pick up a bottle of it every now and again. Normally it comes in the 750ml bottles, which is about 26 ounces, which is a size that I doubt that I’ve ever opened when I’m by myself. The new bottle, at 12 ounces, is the perfect size for me, myself, and I. The bottle still looks like a Tank 7 bottle with the long neck and the Smokestack Series artwork, as opposed to the short, stubby, bottles that Boulevard normally uses.
|The new Tank 7 package|
So what? Who cares, why are you writing a blog about this and making us read it? I don’t know if I have a great answer for that other than to say that 1) I’m interested in design and decisions for design and packaging and 2) I believe it’s a good move from Boulevard, and other breweries have also been finding ways to package their specialty beers in a way that will bring them to a more mainstream audience. Now the beer comes in a 4 pack. You don’t have to save off the big bottle, opening it only for a special occasion, you can stick the box in the fridge and open them at your own leisure. I imagine Boulevard will be selling a whole lot more Tank 7 because of this. How do I feel about this? Excited that this beer will be more accessible, but now I’ll probably hold the Tank 7 as slightly less special because I can dip into it anytime I feel like it. This is the problem with beer nerds in general, once we find a great
beer, it’s difficult for us to come back to it regularly instead of trying all that is new. I would like to change this about myself.
Other breweries have also made strong decisions when it comes to packaging and changing the packaging of their beers. The first one that comes to mind is Bridgeport Brewing Hop Czar. The beer was first released in a 22oz bottle and probably for the first year it sold quickly. Bridgeport began changing their logos (and later they switched out some of their beers for new recipes) and all of a sudden I saw a 6 pack of Hop Czar on the shelf. I wasn’t sure how I felt about this. A double IPA in a little bottle? It made me feel like the beer wasn’t special anymore. It had felt special because it was released in one of those sizes where I could only open it for special occasions. I’m not going to drink 22oz of a huge beer all by myself, so it was a special occasion beer. At the time I was living in Portland and I would walk around the streets on recycling day to collect bottles for homebrewing. I had never seen a Hop Czar bomber in anyone’s recycling bin, however when the six packs were released I saw them in the bins all the time, in fact, they probably were contending with Widmer beers as ‘most likely to be found in a recycling bin.’ That changed my mind about the beer, I realized that now more people would buy it because you could open small bottles as needed. Solid move.
|This image is from Billy Brew|
Another brewery that comes to mind is Odell. (Billy Brew has a nice interview with Odell’s Derek Struble on “The Rise of the 4 Packs” check it out) Now, as far as I know the Myrcenary and the Double Pilsner were never released in 22oz bottles. I could be very wrong, I’m new to Colorado and we never got Odell in Oregon. Anyway, these two beers are huge and, at least concerning the Double Pilsner, I would only drink half a pint in one sitting (ultimately though I don’t like the Double Pilsner). They needed to differentiate the beers from their normal line up and from the barrel aged series. So, Odell releases these beers in 12 oz bottles that come in 4 packs. This keeps the price near the same as their other normal line up 6 packs. I think it’s a smart move, even though you aren’t getting the same amount of beer, you’re paying no more than you would have but you’re getting something special. Keeping the beer in the 4 pack as opposed to a 6 pack makes me think the beer is special, in the same way that the bomber has always been special to me. Now, I’m not sure if they made this move to the 4 pack simply to keep the cost of the pack down for the consumer, or whether it was something else, but like I’m saying, releasing them in a 4 pack helps maintain their appearance as something abnormal, something for the beer nerds, but keeps it in a recognizable form for those who aren’t always seeking out the latest experiments.