A beverage packaging star is born: Leveraging the trend toward canned brews, Anheuser-Busch has launched Estrella Jalisco beer in the United States in a distinctive foil-top can. The packaging design uses a colorful foil circle sealed to the top of a pull-tab can to elevate and differentiate the Mexican brand, which is a light pilsner that’s been brewed in the Mexican state of Jalisco since 1910.
Printed with Estrella Jalisco’s signature star, the foil covers the can’s top and neck. For now, only 24-oz cans are available with the foil; they are sold individually at retail and also in venues such as stadiums and event centers.
Yonathan Bendesky, director, Mexican imports, at Anheuser-Busch, says that the foil, in addition to adding visual pop, “provides an additional layer of protection for the can during the import process.”
Anheuser-Busch started importing Estrella Jalisco into the United States in bottles in Spring 2016 and launched the foil-top cans in the U.S. market in late July 2017. The new package will be available in 18 states by the end of 2017. Bendesky answers Packaging Digest’s exclusive questions about Estrella Jalisco and the new foil-top can.
Who is the target customer for this package, and how does the foil top appeal to that consumer?
Bendesky: Because of our brand’s Mexican heritage and, specifically, heritage of the Jalisco region, Mexican-American consumers are familiar with Estrella Jalisco organically. However, our consumers across the country reflect the diverse population of the United States.
Is the brand sold in the U.S. with Spanish-only graphics?
Bendesky: Estrella Jalisco is a Mexican import and is sold in its original, in-language packaging.
How is this foil top an upgrade for the beer market?
Bendesky: Estrella Jalisco’s introduction of the first and only foil-top sealed canned beer in the U.S. is an innovation that we feel raises the bar within the beer category and within the industry overall. Despite canned beer’s past perception, consumers are now considering and adopting canned beer at quicker rates.
We are capitalizing on that trend and differentiating Estrella Jalisco by adding an extra layer of protection that also adds a premium element to our beer, which we hope will ensure that our consumers have an excellent experience when consuming our carefully crafted brew. To us, putting the star on the foil is symbolic of our commitment to delivering a superior-quality experience for our consumers.
Is there any language about the foil top on the can itself?
Bendesky: There isn’t language about the foil top on the can itself, as we believe the brand’s iconic star, or estrella, which is featured on the lid, is an element that represents the brand and can stand alone.
Is the foil sealed to the can top? If so, how?
Bendesky: Yes. The foil is sealed to the top of the can using proprietary technology.
What changes or additions were required to the packaging line to accommodate the foil top?
Bendesky: There are certainly adjustments to the packaging line, but we cannot share details of the changes.
Can the filled cans be stacked without marring the foil?
Bendesky: Typically, 24-oz cans are not stacked, due to their size.
How easy is the foil top to remove?
Bendesky: The foil top is very easy to remove. You just peel it back, crack open the can and enjoy!
How are the foil tops printed and in how many colors?
Bendesky: The foil tops are printed as part of a five-color printing process.
Is anything printed on the underside?
Bendesky: Currently nothing is printed on the underside of the seal, but we are open to potentially printing there in the future.
How critical is the color match of the foil top with the metal can?
Bendesky: This is very critical. The red seal is an extension of the branding found on the can, so it is important that both match.
Why add a foil top to the 24-oz size specifically?
Bendesky: The 24-oz can provides us with the broadest canvas on which to present this innovation. However, we are considering rolling out the foil on our 12-oz cans in the future.
Are the foil tops designed to reclose cans, if the contents aren’t consumed in one sitting?
Bendesky: That was not the intention for this innovation, but consumers can do this, if they like. Once the lid is fully off, it can’t be put back. It’s the same as any other beer, once you open it.
How much does the foil top add to the cost of the package? Is this cost passed on to the consumer?
Bendesky: We cannot share details on the cost of packaging, but we do not pass any costs on to the consumer. This packaging innovation was done with the consumer in mind. We see this packaging as a way to deliver a superior experience to our consumer at no incremental cost.
How has consumer reaction been so far?
Bendesky: We put the red seal through the same rigorous consumer testing that we do for all innovations in packaging, and we’re excited about how well it performed. Consumers like the premium look of the packaging, and our hope is that they will be proud to hold an Estrella Jalisco in their hands.
Can the consumer see the foil top in the store, prior to purchasing?
Bendesky: 24-oz cans are sold individually, which is why it made sense to use this pack to launch the foil-seal innovation. Consumers see the can on the shelves with the foil on it when they enter a store. Additionally, the red-seal cans are not only featured on point-of-sale collateral but can also be found in out-of-home, digital, broadcast and on social media channels.
Why launch the foil-top package in the United States, specifically?
Bendesky: As one of the most developed beer markets in the world, the U.S. provides us with a perfect opportunity to launch an innovation like this one. We know that U.S. beer consumers are looking for a premium look in the beers that they enjoy, so it was an easy decision to roll out this packaging in the U.S.
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