The new ‘200 diameter’ end is being launched in China via the launch with Anheuser-Busch InBev, and Crown said the project represented the first commercial application of full-aperture ends in Asia.
Consumers are able to remove the entire trademarked ‘360 End’, which turns the can into a drinking cup. Crown said AB InBev is primarily targeting the nightclub and karaoke scene via a limited release.
Chinese drinking rituals
AB InBev is aiming to modernize the ‘gan bei’ drinking ritual in China, and Crown said this phrase was the equivalent of the ‘cheers’ toast in the US.
A spokeswoman explained that the reference to ‘200 diameter’ was a historical throwback to a time when everything was measured in 1/1000th of an inch, and that Crown called this product its 50mm ‘small diameter end’.
She added that the original 360 full-aperture end was developed with SAB Miller for the last World Cup and used on large beer cans, effectively turning them into a drinking cup.
“The 200 diameter version is an extension of the 360 concept, with the initial launch in China, as you say, focused on the nightclub/karaoke market.”
Sophisticated young consumers
Noting that China had overtaken the US as the world’s largest beer market (40bn litres sold each year) Ricardo Dias, VP of procurement for AB InBev APAC, said that younger consumers were a key demographic.
“The ‘gan bei’ can is a brand new product with a very specific goal: enhancing the drinking experience for Budweiser customers, who have an increasingly sophisticated taste.”
The can’s unique size, high quality graphics and full aperture end would also reinforce Budweiser’s positioning as a premium brand for both affluent and aspiring consumers, Dias added.
The end are now being produced in Asia and converted in the US, and asked about production rates to date, a Crown spokeswoman told this publication: “I cannot give you volumes, but I can say that we have produce several million full aperture ends.”