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Pairing pack styles with markets

With Bass's vast reach to more than 70 different export markets, what determines which pack style is used for a given market?

Bass's Jonathan Turner marketing controller for Bass Beers Worldwide the export arm of Bass Brewers spoke with PW from his office in Cape Hill about Bass's multipacking strategies. Two factors make the wrap a natural choice for many markets export and domestic. First it's among the cheapest forms of multipacking since blanks don't need to be preglued by the wrap manufacturer unlike baskets. Plus since wraps are open-ended they require less material than enclosed packs. Compared to baskets wraps provide more billboard area for brand merchandising. The decision whether to use over-crown or neck-through is usually a design issue. "If you've got an attractive bottle you may want to stick the neck out" says Turner. An example is four-packs of 330-mL longneck bottles of Tennents Gold sold in the U.K. "Or if you want a large branding area you may want to enclose the neck." Most packs produced on Bass's Marksman 2000 are over-crown. Where beer is sold in the U.K. a great deal of multipacks are fully enclosed especially in grocery stores. "Major supermarkets here are reluctant to have a completely open pack because of potential for pilferage" explains Turner. Wraps are permitted though supermarket chains require that individual bottles be devoid of bar-coded labels lest scanners at the checkout counter accidentally pick up two bar codes in one pass--one on the multipack and one on a bottle. However Bass won't use a wrap or configuration that doesn't fit the preferences of a local market. The classic example of this is the U.S. When it comes to bottled imports consumers here are used to basket carriers. Bass restricts its use of the basket carrier--which is expensive since the manufacturer must preglue it unlike the wrap--almost exclusively to product exported to the U.S. That's not to say that Bass won't experiment. Turner describes a three-pack wrap--currently packed by hand--that's being tried in France for Bass Pale Ale and Tennents 1885. "In France there is a small import beer sector so a three-pack is what would be demanded by the market" says Turner. A three-pack sampler involving three separate Bass brands--including a Czech beer that Bass is marketing--has also shown signs of success. The sampler "looks fantastic" says Turner who adds that Bass is contemplating production of the three-packs on a larger scale a size and configuration that could be handled by the Marksman 2000.

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