I previously posted about Shift when it was first released in Las Vegas here. I mentioned in that article the benefits, and likely reasons, for having this beer being only available in a can, but I didn’t touch on the benefits or marketing reasons of it only being available in a 16 oz can. My guess, is that the new decision to make Shift also available in 12 oz cans was likely based on a different kind of demand than originally expected from the sole 16 oz cans of Shift.
In my mind, the 16 oz can was perfect. Firstly, it is much cheaper to manufacture only one version of a particular product. Second, at 5% alcohol, it is one of the lowest alcohol content beers that New Belgium makes year-round. Not only that, but is is one of the driest, crispest beers they make. Add in the fact that the increased hops compared to most lagers makes this one of the most flavorful, refreshing, craft beers available that isn’t too filling. The added 4 oz is well welcomed for this style of beer.
So what changed? My only assumption would be to make this beer available at a possibly more attractive price point. The 4 packs of Shift are usually available at around the same price as New Belgium’s year-round beers available in 6 packs. Assuming a 6 pack of 12 oz Shifts is also available at the same price point, consumers are able to purchase 8 more ounces of beer, but more importantly, the perception of 2 more beers than buying a 4 pack.
The only thing that I’m left still wondering, is whether the 16 oz cans will still be available. Given New Belgium’s size, and the variety of packaging available for their other year-round beers, I would assume it will still stick around, as the cost is probably not too substantial for them. Still, I loved the appeal of making a single beer available in only a single packaging format.