Video: Crown Beverage Packaging Launches Topless Beer Can

The latest innovation in can packaging might pair best with a nude beach.

It’s been dubbed the topless beer can, and it was unveiled by Crown Beverage Packaging at last month’s Craft Brewers Conference (CBC) in Washington D.C. While certainly isn’t suggesting that any bearded brewers drop their board shorts for one of these new beer cans, the new technology does highlight some of the interesting ideas craft brewers are exploring to help their brands stand out in a crowded category.

The official trademarked name for the technology is 360 End, a removable can lid originally developed by Crown Holdings in 2010 for the FIFA World Cup. Brian Thiel, a regional sales manager for the company said one major benefit of the package is a reduction of waste at large events.

“It really has a great application for stadium or event usage,” said Thiel.

But craft brewers love the technology for a much more sensory reason.

“Craft brewers spend a considerable amount of time creating recipes and choosing the types of aroma hopes that go into a beer,” said Thiel. “Now the consumer has their full attention and their nose is basically right in the drink.”

The first craft beer company to use the technology is Pottstown, Penn.-based Sly Fox Brewing Company, but Thiel said Crown received a lot of attention from CBC attendees and this week, hundreds of 360 End samples are being mailed to craft brewers across the country. He also said cost of the 360 End costs roughly 2.5 times more than the company’s current “SuperEnd.”

Crown isn’t the only can manufacturer working to create new designs, either. Earlier this year, Boston Beer Company worked with Ball Corporation, spending $1 million to create an hourglass-shaped can package that brewery founder Jim Koch believes is superior to other cans on the market. Last week, Budweiser announced the release of its 11.3 ounce “bowtie” shaped cans, a package some have said is an attempt to deliver less beer at a higher price point.

So will craft brewers strip down and go topless? editor Chris Furnari discusses the new 360 End technology with Thiel in our latest video segment.