Drinking beer's tough, so let the can do the work | Bleader

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Drinking beer's tough, so let the can do the work

Posted By on 09.20.11 at 06:04 PM

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On his 2010 comedy album Bigger and Blackerer, David Cross's short bit, "I Can't Get Beer in Me," focuses on Coors Light's inexplicable mission to make alcohol travel out of the can and into the consumer faster. Cross spouts off about the beer mega power's fashioning of a wide-mouth can for "easier drinking" and the later invention of a side vent for easierer drinking. As he so delicately puts it, the side vent "allows air to get in and pushes the beer from the can into your tum-tum, so you can start hitting sooner." In other words, Coors Light blazed a trail, introducing a more sophisticated way to shotgun a beer. It's pretty much a win-win for all parties involved.

And lucky for us, the Silver Bullet didn't stop there.

The company's next stroke of brilliance notified the consumer when the can was cold, without ever having to actually touch it. Launched in 2009, the cold-activated can was an "effort to make Coors Light beer synonymous with 'cold' and help differentiate the brand from competitive brews". The can's mountains majestically turn blue when it reaches primo drinking temperature, beginning at 48 degrees and going fully blue at 44 degrees, give or take. Why bother touching the can when you can see that it's cold? Just cut out the middleman. Cross, though, respectfully disagrees: "Now, when I want to know when something's cold, of the five senses available to me, I use the sense of touch. It has worked literally every single time."

Since the release of Bigger and Blackerer, the world of beer can and bottle innovation hasn't slowed down to enjoy its success. I watch a ton of football on Sunday (I repeat, a ton), and on regular rotation, slotted in between erectile dysfunction and Ford truck commercials, are a host of Coors and Miller Lite commercials that often showcase whatever outrageous new gimmick the beer think tank has conjured up for that month.

One of the most confounding is Miller Lite's Vortex Bottle. Described as having "specially designed grooves inside the neck" that let the "great pilsner taste flow right out," the bottle is touting its "flow," I guess. In actuality, it's more a gimmick than anything Coors Light has rolled out, which is damn impressive. I can't help but imagine a lowly, clueless Miller minion heading into a board meeting chock-full of executive hotshots and pitching the idea for the Vortex:

Board: What do you have for us? Those shrewd geniuses over at Coors are killing us and threatening to take over the number two spot in light beer sales.
Minion: We came up with the idea to put grooves in the neck of the bottle. It's kind of cool looking.
Board: What's it called?
Minion: We like "Vortex Bottle." "Tornado Bottle" has too many syllables.
Board: What does it do?
Minion: Well, it has grooves. (Holding up the bottle) See, grooves.
Board: Sold.

But the Vortex Bottle didn't faze phase Coors, as the company probably told itself, "Sure, we're in bed together with Miller in trying to take down Anheuser-Busch and Bud Light, but come on, we've got the absurd can and bottle market cornered."

The most recent innovation from Coors—the one that's been flooding football's commercial stream this season—may just be the company's best thus far.

Launched this past spring, the two-stage activation bottle and can further define what the hell Coors thinks "cold" means. Jim Cohen of Beer Universe explains:

Super Cold Activated Coors Light as they call it will let consumers know when their beer is at the “peak of refreshment.” Don’t worry — they won’t lose the original mountains or the “cold” activation that was on earlier iterations of the product. Instead, after the mountains on the side of bottles and cans turn blue, there is an extra label (called “Super Cold”) that also turns blue.

According to the brand, studies indicate more than 70% of men who drink beer put their beers in the freezers (sigh). Coors argues that their technology allows these consumers to determine when they can remove their beers from the freezer (why not store your beer in a fridge?).

As if seeing the mountains turn blue wasn't enough, you can now read about how cold your beer is. Thank you, Coors Light, you've saved me countless milliseconds of trouble. Looks like it's high time to update your rant, Mr. Cross.

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