Monday, February 04, 2013

Sam Adams' Secret Weapon

I just couldn't resist publishing this trinket. In the consumer business, packaging is always an important consideration. This is a unique example of how “packaging” can increase consumption and why it is very important to study how your customers use/consume your product.

Most of us probably don’t think much about the shape of the glass we use to drink a beverage. If we’re having a beer in a bar or restaurant, it will likely come in a tapered pint glass, a flute-shaped glass, a mug, or sometimes a glass branded with the name of the chosen brew. We SHOULD pay more attention, because new research shows our rate of consumption is dramatically affected by the glass that beer is served in.
A team of generous researchers from the University of Bristol decided to serve up some free brews, while (unbeknownst to the lucky subjects) carefully monitoring how long it took the average drinker to finish their beer. There were two glass designs used: a fluted glass which is wide at the top and has a curved taper to a narrow bottom, and a straight glass with vertical sides. What they found was startling.
Each subject was poured a 12 ounce beer, equivalent to a standard U.S. bottle or can, which gave them a full glass. It took subjects drinking from straight glasses nearly 12 minutes to finish their beer, while those drinking from fluted glasses took just over 7 minutes. 

Curved Glass Obscures “Halfway” Mark resulting in 60% faster consumption!!
In an effort to determine why the beer drinkers polished off the fluted glass so quickly, the researchers ran a few additional experiments. They tried half-full glasses (or half-empty if you’re pessimistic), and didn't find much difference in rate of consumption. Another test showed that it was more difficult for the subjects to estimate where the halfway mark was in the curved glass. From this data, the researchers concluded that the subjects were setting a rate of consumption based on their progress through the glass, and drank the beer from the fluted glass more rapidly because they mis-estimated that progress.
This research explains why so many locations that serve beer don’t use straight glasses. I always assumed the reason was aesthetics, but, by design or luck, most establishments gravitate toward curved or tapered beer glasses.

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