Why are there so many four packs?

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by chuckstout, Apr 25, 2020.

  1. chuckstout

    chuckstout Initiate (61) May 22, 2006 Ohio

    I guess I am just old fashioned but I do not care for four packs. Is there any reason so many beers are coming out in four packs only? Does it have something to do with alcohol content? Just curious.
     
  2. bret27

    bret27 Meyvn (1,189) Mar 10, 2009 California
    Trader

    They’re almost always 16 oz, which I guess would be 64oz total whereas a 6pk 12 oz would be 72oz total. Maybe less packaging for almost as much beer?
    Or maybe just trendy. They tend to be the trendier craft beers that are the 4pk form.
    I don’t think abv plays a role.
     
  3. PapaGoose03

    PapaGoose03 Poo-Bah (2,828) May 30, 2005 Michigan
    Society

    I think it's two factors:
    1. As you said, higher abv beers typically are higher priced too, so a 4-pack let's you think you're spending less to take home a 'pack' regardless that it isn't a 6-pack.
    2. I think there are some hyped small batch-beers that go into 4-packs so that the brewery can spread the supply among more customers. It may be mostly sour beers that fall into this category.
     
  4. AWA

    AWA Disciple (326) Jul 22, 2014 California

    i hear what you're saying, and I agree, they kind of bug me. But they still beat the hell out of bombers.
     
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  5. SFACRKnight

    SFACRKnight Poo-Bah (1,772) Jan 20, 2012 Colorado
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    I'm a fan as I don't drink a lot and a sixer can last me 12 weeks if I have a couple different ones. 12 weeks is an awful long time for an ipa that is already 4 weeks old when I get it.
     
  6. AWA

    AWA Disciple (326) Jul 22, 2014 California

    Man, that makes me feel like I drink too much. Oh well.
     
  7. SFACRKnight

    SFACRKnight Poo-Bah (1,772) Jan 20, 2012 Colorado
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    I drink on the weekends, and usually when my kids have gone to bed. That means max 3 beers a week if everything comes together right. Things never come together right.
     
  8. AWA

    AWA Disciple (326) Jul 22, 2014 California

    I used to be there. Now my kid is 15, I work for myself from home, and have a beer fridge in my office. It's out of my hands now.
     
  9. beertunes

    beertunes Poo-Bah (7,662) Sep 24, 2007 Kiribati
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    Mostly hipsterism, trendiness, and coolkid-snobbiness-elite-ism.
     
  10. BeerGeekExtraordinaire

    BeerGeekExtraordinaire Initiate (33) Mar 6, 2020 Illinois

    I mind it from the perspective of I like 6 pack mix and matches because I like trying new things. If I buy a 4 pack it may just sit there. But.....if that is what I have to do to support local breweries, then OK
     
  11. bbtkd

    bbtkd Poo-Bah (10,458) Sep 20, 2015 South Dakota
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    Probably 95% of the beers I buy are new-to-me singles. When I do buy a pack, it's a four about 95% of the time, and of those 75% are 16oz cans. I rarely buy sixers or bombers anymore. Sixers are a sign of weakness.
     
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  12. thesherrybomber

    thesherrybomber Devotee (417) Jun 13, 2017 California
    Society Deactivated

    In that case, count me in! I don't always feel like committing to six, especially if its something I've never had before
     
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  13. Bitterbill

    Bitterbill Poo-Bah (7,348) Sep 14, 2002 Wyoming
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    In Wyoming, I see 6packs and 4packs of Wyoming brewed beers with the latter *usually* having higher abvs.
     
  14. AZBeerDude72

    AZBeerDude72 Poo-Bah (2,124) Jun 10, 2016 Arizona
    Society Trader

    What don't you like about 4 packs? Only 8 oz difference. Most 4 packs are higher ABV so the argument of less beer does not hold water when your ABV is more. At the end of the day its close to a wash etc, splitting hairs I think.
    Cheers
     
  15. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (4,681) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
    Society

    Pretty simple answer here: money.

    Craft Breweries absolutely love the four-pack/16 ounce cans format because they can price this at $15+ and craft beer drinkers willingly buy them. A win-win proposition?

    I personally purchase beers by the six-pack/12 ounce format but I suppose that is just me?

    Cheers!
     
  16. beertunes

    beertunes Poo-Bah (7,662) Sep 24, 2007 Kiribati
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    Even low ABV beers around here show up in 4x16oz for $12-18 a 4pack.
     
  17. Bitterbill

    Bitterbill Poo-Bah (7,348) Sep 14, 2002 Wyoming
    Society Trader

    You never bought 4packs of Oskar Blues Ten Fidy?
     
  18. AWA

    AWA Disciple (326) Jul 22, 2014 California

    Or not having any retailers by you selling singles
     
  19. AZBeerDude72

    AZBeerDude72 Poo-Bah (2,124) Jun 10, 2016 Arizona
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    Agree, I see them here also. I think as a whole the difference is not that big a deal when viewing the whole spectrum of beers a brewery offers. At the end of the day the house may win but its not that major of a deal, least for me anyway. I know most of my locals when offering say a Pils in 4 packs, they run around 11 bucks. Almost always the cost of the pack is driven by the ABV.
     
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  20. Bitterbill

    Bitterbill Poo-Bah (7,348) Sep 14, 2002 Wyoming
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    Especially singles in the cooler vs on a warm shelf.
     
  21. surfcaster

    surfcaster Zealot (567) Apr 20, 2013 North Carolina
    Trader

    Much prefers 6ers.

    12oz is perfect for me and all but abandoned by the small brewers.

    Wish more places would bring them back.
     
  22. mambossa

    mambossa Aspirant (247) Jun 30, 2015 Ohio

    usually boils down to the bottom line. There’s a lot of questions getting asked when discussing formatting, but just generally:

    “Is it an expensive beer to make?” Yes. Higher gravity beer is more expensive to make. Also lower gravity beers with more expensive ingredients (premium hops, natural flavoring additions, complex/time consuming beers) will be expensive. The 4pk might be a more viable and financially approachable figure for most consumers.

    “How much can we sell it for as a sixer?” usually the answer is along the lines of “far more than people are willing to pay”. When a bigger regional brewery creeps up past $13-$14 a sixer, it better damn well be worth it, and you have to show for it. Most of them opt for the more reasonable price for a 4pk (12oz)

    As someone mentioned earlier, with 16oz 4pks, you’re only losing a few ounces from a 6pk. So high prices are a little more passable nowadays with that trend.

    I personally like to mix in a 4pk here and there because I like variation. As of late I’ve been tacking on a 4pk of something along with a sixer when I pick up beer. I think it’s a great format, 16oz or 12oz, and I’m willing to pay the premium on it if I know it’s good.
     
  23. AZBeerDude72

    AZBeerDude72 Poo-Bah (2,124) Jun 10, 2016 Arizona
    Society Trader

    To add to this, do you guys not agree that most 6 pack offerings are from breweries with a larger footprint in the market. They have a higher volume of output and can reduce cost some and offer a few more oz. etc. I think the overwhelming majority of smaller breweries use 4 packs.
    Cheers
     
  24. unlikelyspiderperson

    unlikelyspiderperson Poo-Bah (1,546) Mar 12, 2013 California
    Society Trader

    You're a better man than me, I need a beer or two to prepare me for putting the oldest to bed
     
  25. mambossa

    mambossa Aspirant (247) Jun 30, 2015 Ohio

    where I live there are plenty of tiny breweries packaging cans in 6pks. I don’t think volume matters as much as $$$. The cost and time of the beer is going to affect the majority of the price, on every scale.

    The average consumer is also accustomed to the 6pk format, so it’s less of a risk if people are getting a familiar format.
     
  26. Obsidian81

    Obsidian81 Initiate (58) Mar 3, 2016 Illinois
    Trader

    I can’t think of any rational reason for it, but i have no problem buying 4 packs of stouts and barrel aged beers, but I largely avoid 4 packs of IPAs, except for Pseudo Sue, King Sue, and Fire, Skulls, Money. They’re just too damn good. Not to mention the OG Ruination before they retired it.
     
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  27. mambossa

    mambossa Aspirant (247) Jun 30, 2015 Ohio

    ....Stone did 4pks?? I always known them sticking to their guns of 6ers and bombers.
     
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  28. guzzleacoldone

    guzzleacoldone Disciple (372) Feb 3, 2007 Ohio

    I'm a fan of variety so I don't mind them so much anymore. I grew tired of six packs although I still buy them if that's all that's available. I like the 16 oz format's and feel that's fair.
     
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  29. zid

    zid Meyvn (1,215) Feb 15, 2010 New York
    Trader

    In my eyes, it has nothing to do with ABV or spreading the love. As @JackHorzempa pointed out, it's primarily done because it's a format where more customers are more OK with spending more $ per ounce. It's the bomber of the moment. It's not limited to trendy and/or small craft brewers and NEIPAs though... there's a reason most Belgian beers outside of AB-InBev don't come in six packs.
     
  30. Obsidian81

    Obsidian81 Initiate (58) Mar 3, 2016 Illinois
    Trader

    They did a few. The ones I bought regularly were Oaked Arrogant Bastard and Ruination (God I miss that beer). When they released Ruination 2.0 in 2015, it was packaged in 6 packs.
     
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  31. bbtkd

    bbtkd Poo-Bah (10,458) Sep 20, 2015 South Dakota
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    That would truly suck. :anguished:
     
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  32. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (4,681) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
    Society

    No.

    Cheers!
     
  33. AZBeerDude72

    AZBeerDude72 Poo-Bah (2,124) Jun 10, 2016 Arizona
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    So using an example of $20 for a 6 pack and 4 pack.
    The 6 pack is 27.77 cents an ounce
    The 4 pack is 31.25 cents an ounce.
    Difference of 3.48 cents an ounce.
    If folks are that hard up then I am not sure what to say, its like a 3.5 cent difference. WOW really.
     
  34. zid

    zid Meyvn (1,215) Feb 15, 2010 New York
    Trader

    That's not what I'm saying. Your math isn't taking into account that it seems like $20 four packs have greater consumer acceptance than $20 six packs. That's the real difference.
     
  35. AZBeerDude72

    AZBeerDude72 Poo-Bah (2,124) Jun 10, 2016 Arizona
    Society Trader

    I am not really focused on acceptance but on cost. At the end of the day its pennies on the dollar, honestly I don't feel most folks care. Think about it, we are talking about a society that has no issue spending 6 bucks on a coffee or 20 bucks on a burger and fry. If most people drive to work and get a coffee for 3-6 bucks and I can brew my own for 10 cents, do you really think they care about 3.5 cents a beer oz? Not saying its right but saying it from a sales point of view, if folks will pay breweries will charge....
     
  36. Giantspace

    Giantspace Champion (821) Dec 22, 2011 Pennsylvania

    Adds up quite quick when you multiply that 3.5 cents x 12oz x,6 pack, x24, to make a case. Multiply that by all the beer you drink over a year and it’s a shit ton of money. Drink just 2 beers a day and it’s over $306 a year more.

    So yea, many folks are hard up now and that $ will be spent in much better ways. We can stop drinking beer too but for most we enjoy a beer and it helps many deal a little bit in this crazy world.

    I still enjoy AAL and that keeps my price down to around $1-$1.15 a beer over the year. A 30 of Hamms and a $40 case is under $1 a beer, get that sale $25 case and its .70 cents a beer. That keeps me around $525- $800 or so a year. This year it’s much less as I’m not in a drinking mood most days. If I did the math correct that means I would pay 38% more for the same volume of beer if I bought 4x16 as my choice of package.

    I am going to get a case of Two Hearted tomorrow for $40, it’s 24x16. Guessing that’s in 4 packs.

    I wish I was able to buy beer with price not an issue but especially in this day I am even more price focused than before. Not sure I will have a job when this is all said and done.

    Enjoy
     
  37. AZBeerDude72

    AZBeerDude72 Poo-Bah (2,124) Jun 10, 2016 Arizona
    Society Trader

    I don't feel this conversation has anything to do with current times, pricing has not changed. I think pegging it on the virus and hard times is not accurate to the discussion. Anyway, folks need to spend per their budget, that goes in any time or situation. I had this same conversation in booming markets and such, its not a topic of the times at all.
     
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  38. zid

    zid Meyvn (1,215) Feb 15, 2010 New York
    Trader

    I understand your point but we are talking about two different things. You're comparing a $20 four pack with a $20 six pack. I'm talking about a $20 four pack compared to a $10 six pack.
     
  39. AZBeerDude72

    AZBeerDude72 Poo-Bah (2,124) Jun 10, 2016 Arizona
    Society Trader

    I understand. I see all the same beers and price points. I think there are great beers at all price points to be honest, I think we all should spend what we feel is right, no good or bad but what is right for each of us.
     
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  40. unlikelyspiderperson

    unlikelyspiderperson Poo-Bah (1,546) Mar 12, 2013 California
    Society Trader

    There's also the aspect of.market placement. For a variety of reasons many of the best beer customers (those that spend the most.money and are.willing to.pay the most per ounce) have a bias in favor of 4x16 format. If you want to tap into that market it is easiest to do in that format