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Beer 101

MillerCoors needed a way to engage the beer-buying public in-store, right at the shelf, while also educating them about the high-quality, slow-roasted, caramelized malts used to brew its George Killian’s Irish Red Lager.

Pw 5953 Killian

The answer: a tri-fold hang tag holding a small packet of the malts that make the beer so distinctive. The 6 g of malts are clearly visible through a die-cut panel window in the hang tag. The tag is applied to six-packs by beer distributors.

Produced by WS Packaging Group (, the tags are offset printed in four colors and include an aqueous rub-resistant clear coat. The malt packs are held in place with a fugitive hot-melt spot glue, which is also used to keep the tri-fold tag closed until the consumer opens it. Copy on four of the tag’s six panels extol the benefits of including slow-roasted malts as a beer ingredient.

A co-packer bags the malt and sends the bags to WS for attachment to the hang tag, which features a cutout of the Killian’s label.

The brewer deployed this “sensory marketing” tool in time for St. Patrick’s Day of 2008. It involved 11,000 lb of malt and 550,000 hang tags.

“We wanted to provide something more than just a simple neck hanger,” says Jeff Billingsley, George Killian’s brand manager. “We wanted to provide a unique experience with our brand.” Beer distributors, too, see the hang tag as a big plus. “They see it as a tie-breaker on a crowded shelf, an authentic means of promoting the brand while educating consumers about the brand and about beer,” says Billingsley.

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