As someone who previously worked in structural package design (that's basically bottles and cans, for you hotshots in automotive or furniture), I freely admit there's a whole slew of products for which the aesthetics of the package design don't really matter. I'd never buy a bottle of booze or can of beer because of the way the vessel was shaped, or how pretty the label was, for instance; I'd buy them because I want to drink what's inside of them.
Beverage giant Anheuser-Busch InBev, however, disagrees. On May 6th they'll be rolling out the new Budweiser can you see above, shaped to resemble that brand's bowtie logo. Now before we get to the big question, let's take a look at how regular straight-edged beverage cans are made, a pretty fascinating process in its own right:
Now we ask: Why on Earth would Budweiser do this? We can see from the video that they'd be adding at least a couple of steps to the production, using machines that presumably operate like the "necker" and "flanger" we saw towards the end, to get that hourglass shape into the metal. And I can tell you from previous experience that once you've got a new shape for a vessel designed to hold mass-produced liquids, there's all sorts of structural testing that needs to be done to ensure they can withstand stackability; on a fully-laden palette, the cans on the bottom will be holding many times their own weight.
These modifications cannot have been cheap. "The can has been in development since 2010," reports the Associated Press. "The beer maker says it made major equipment investments at its can-making facility in Newburgh to facilitate the 16-step process to create the cans."
It's possible that the Bud marketing crew believes the new can shape will increase sales, enough to cover the cost of the new tooling. But the cynics in us can't help but notice a glaring fact: Standard beer cans hold 12 ounces of brew. The bowtie can rings in at 11.3 ounces. Zero-point-seven ounces missing might not be enough for individual consumers to make a stink about, but multiplied by millions of cans, it's sure to save Anheuser-Busch some serious coin.