Insights into a Variety of Canned Packages

A vast array of packaging options can mean success in sales for your brewery, especially when it comes to catering to certain accounts.

Having a brand available in multiple formats can help boost sales in difference off-premise locations.

“Supermarkets are great for 12 oz cans in 12/15/24 packs for certain brands whereas a specialty beer store is good for the four-pack of 16-ounce cans,” said Cheboygan Brewing‘s Nick Beard. “Especially if they want to break it up for a mix-n-match selection. Having a variety of package offerings gives you the versatility to fit on the shelf and helps you stand out.”

Santa Monica Brew Works puts its beers into 12, 16, and 19.2-ounce cans.

“We absolutely take advantage of price breaks on volume and shipping,” said CEO and co-founder Scott Francis. “We always make sure our inventory is way ahead of our orders.”

At first, it was scary to make the initial order for the 19.2s, said SMBW’s Director of Sales, Alex Josefowitz.

“So we made aggressively large orders of cans,” he said. “The reason was that we had very important commitments at venues but had no idea how quickly they would sell, and as a new can size that was only produced a couple times a year, there were shortages across the country. We even got pallets of blank cans so we could be flexible and wrap it last minute with whatever style was moving quicker than we expected.

“We just couldn’t afford to be out of stock with something so new.”

Now that the “stovepipe” style is becoming a trend and there is established demand for 19.2oz, it’s easier to guarantee inventory from suppliers and Santa Monica can order in smaller quantities, and at better prices.

“Overall, the bigger can results in less packaging cost per ounce and that savings is passed on to the consumer,” Josefowitz said. “The lower price is great for our growth as it encourages more trial from the drinker. It’s easier to commit to gambling on a single big can of beer that only costs a couple of dollars to try, as opposed to a more expensive six-pack that you don’t know and may or may not like.”

Packaging is a key driver in the purchase decision for consumer products in general and this is magnified in the craft beer segment, said TUPPS Brewery founder and president Keith Lewis. “In a crowded market, packaging that resonates with consumers sets you apart,” he said.

But Beard advises breweries not to offer too many packaging varieties as it complicates the process with distributors and retailers.

“We do get price breaks for ordering the bulk of cans and our biggest issue is having the warehousing space for it all,” he said. “If we were to switch to any new packaging format we would have to find additional space to order enough to get our price break and it would add an extra day to our canning cycles.

“With time, margins and capacity already tight. It just doesn’t make sense for us to offer any other packaging style other than kegs and 16 oz cans at this time.”

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