Friday’s ad is for Budweiser cans from 1963. You have to admire her ‘do and the mod frock, but “Pick a Pair,” suggesting that the “smart way to buy” is to purchase two six-packs implies that the 12-pack had not yet been invented. To me, that’s the odd notion. When did the 12-pack debut as a lasting package? I know breweries experimented with varying package sizes, before the sixer became the standard. I also seem to recall its victory had something to do with weight and ease of carrying. Though despite the obscenely happy face she’s wearing, she seems to be struggling a bit with carrying two six-packs, or at least they’re perched precariously.
Well, you have to remember, that it boils back to breweries originally packaging bottles in wooden caes. you had a case of 24 bottles in a wooden case (and some other denominations, but that was the standard) This standard just migrated over when everyone switched to cardboard. Brewery bottling/packaging machinery was centered around filling caes of 24 and divisions there of. Bottles dominated sales until the 1960’s, so when they broke things up into 6 packs, cans just natutally followed suit.
Another division that I remember seeing in the 1980s in Wisconsin with smaller sized breweries was 8-packs of bottles (or 24 divided by 3 not 4).
On their website, Pepsi says they introduced 12-packs of their cans in 1979.
Note that those Bud cans still have steel in them; I think aluminum tops came 1st for the old 3-piece cans; then the pop-top, then the all-aluminum 2-piece can & the plastic rings that replaced the paper carriers – by 1970, Coors was the only one still packaging 6-packs in paper. The only 8-packs I ever saw were of the 7-oz “pony” bottles that Miller introduced in the early 70’s (& which A-B copied shortly thereafter – both bit the dust long ago). As for 12 packs, I think were talking time similar to Pepsi’s. I worked in a grocery store in MD 1971-78 & stocked a lot of beer. Never saw 12-packs until after I moved to CA late Nov 1978.
Packaging technology has evolved multifold since 1963. Canned macroproducts now come in 12/18/24/30-packs (18’s are the least common here; the 30’s you see mostly at big box stores). Why the macros haven’t gone totally to plastic bottles baffles me, as the weight reduction vs. glass is enormous & certainly would reduce shipping costs & breakage returns. The cost of oil affects plastic prices, & soft plastic is air-permeable over time , thus reducing shelf life. Anybody have any good inside knowledge of the economics of glass vs. plastic?