Tuesday, November 23, 2010

CT Column 24/11/2010 :The whole package

I DON’T usually write about the packaging beer comes in; brewery marketing departments do more than enough of that for everyone. For big mainstream brands, innovation is often a new brightly coloured label or a slightly longer bottleneck. I like to use the opportunities that I get to write about beer to talk about what’s in the bottle rather than the bottle itself.
However, packaging does have a level of importance. As a beer retailer I know that the way a beer is presented can drastically influence its sales, and as a drinker I know the size of the bottle that a beer is sold in affects the situations it gets drunk in. There are many arguments for and against various sized bottles that retailers and brewers make, but really all that should concern you, the consumer, is what you like buying. For me personally, the 500ml bottle is optimum bottle size for ‘session strength’ beer while smaller bottles are better suited to high strength brews.
But recently there has been a move towards an even larger bottle for high strength beer. I recently realised that New Zealand craft beer had achieved a small record when I noticed I had six different New Zealand craft beers for sale packaged in 750ml sparkling wine bottles. Yeastie Boys, Hallertau, Moa, Golden Bear and mikes all have taken up the 750ml format for their strong special releases. Moa have actually gone one better and you can buy 1.5 litre magnums of their St Joseph Tripel. Yeastie Boys has adopted the 750ml bottle for its His and Her Majesty releases and the forthcoming PKB Remix.
Yeastie Boy Stu says that they chose the bottle because the size encourages sharing, and that the wine bottle makes them more likely to be put on the table with food. Another plus for the coming festive season is that beer packaged this way makes great gifts. I think the increasing numbers of beers packaged this way and the fact that they are selling is a sign that our craft beer culture is maturing and I will certainly drink to that!

1 comment:

jared said...

You can get 2 good sized drinks out of a 750 where I feel a little short changed when I have to share a 500. The wife always wants half.