Why are there so many four packs?

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

  1. Bitterbill

    Bitterbill Poo-Bah (7,348) Sep 14, 2002 Wyoming
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    I think Bigfoot was in 4packs for one year. Me/scratching my head.
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  2. nc41

    nc41 Poo-Bah (2,546) Sep 25, 2008 North Carolina
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    64 oz vs 72, most 4 pk/ 16 oz might even be a tad more expensive.

    So money, and guys like the 16 oz format, and we’ll pay the premium price unquestioned. Funny how that is.
    MNAle likes this.
  3. JackHorzempa

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

    Because they were taught the 'new' math!?!:confused:

    mambossa likes this.
  4. woodchipper

    woodchipper Meyvn (1,273) Oct 25, 2005 Connecticut

    I prefer six packs of 12 oz but I understand the marketing aspect of it. I guess I'm stuck with this situation.
  5. cmiller4642

    cmiller4642 Disciple (318) Aug 17, 2013 West Virginia

    I think it's because people switch beers so often and don't stick to one brand for the most part.

    4 packs from the same brewery of different IPA's= you're more likely to grab 2 or 3 different offerings than just 1.
    unlikelyspiderperson likes this.
  6. ovaltine

    ovaltine Poo-Bah (3,265) Apr 6, 2010 Indiana
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    I prefer 16 oz cans as a packaging vessel (bottle or can, I always pour into a glass), and I WAAAAAAAAAAAY prefer 16 oz cans as a shipping vessel. 12 oz bottles kinda scare me, and bombers positively terrify me to ship, even in those shipping containers made specifically for wine/beer bottles.
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  7. readyski

    readyski Aspirant (277) Jun 4, 2005 California

    And thank God you don't have to buy the $10-15 bomber to get that beer (usually)
    unlikelyspiderperson likes this.
  8. JackHorzempa

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

    I would encourage you to take my approach. I buy beer in my preferred format: six-packs/12 ounces.

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  9. beertunes

    beertunes Poo-Bah (7,662) Sep 24, 2007 Kiribati
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    Is it not still? I know I bought a pack this year, but I don't recall if it was a 4 or 6 pack. I woulda swore it was 4.
    Bitterbill likes this.
  10. beertunes

    beertunes Poo-Bah (7,662) Sep 24, 2007 Kiribati
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    The big reason I hate the 4x16 format is that 12oz is just the right size. Even of beers I like, those last couple swallows of a 16 just get too warm. I never have that problem with 12oz. I would rather drink 4x12 over an afternoon than 3x16. 4 different beers instead of 3, and the beers stay nicely cold.
    JMN44, chrismattlin, nc41 and 5 others like this.
  11. Giantspace

    Giantspace Champion (821) Dec 22, 2011 Pennsylvania

    I know that 2012 was 6 packs and there was a move to 4 packs Someplace after that. I stopped buying as the price did not go down.

    I bought a six pack this year.

  12. BWichmann74

    BWichmann74 Initiate (93) Sep 27, 2014 Michigan

    I was going to mention Two Hearted as they have many formats. They have the single can - I believe it’s the 19.7oz but never buy it. They have the 4x16oz cans , 6x12oz bottles, the 12x12oz cans and 24x12oz bottle cases at places like Costco.

    Me, I prefer the 6 pack format (typically $9.99) but the 4x16oz (typically $7.99) is something I buy when cans are a better option than glass (kayaking, hiking, etc) and the price per ounce is actually cheaper.

    I prefer 12oz as sometimes the 16oz becomes too much (24oz vs 32, 36oz vs 48) and I have almost completely bailed on the expensive 4x16oz format for things like NEIPA’s. I’m sorry but >$15 for a 4x16oz just can’t be the norm for me as it’s just too much money. I’ll pay this for what I feel is top shelf but when there are 10-15 options at this price in the coolers I shake my head and can’t accept this price point for an average NEIPA. Because of this I drink a lot of Bell’s, Founders 15 pack cans, Lagunitas, etc. price per ounce is solid and I just don’t need to try every new (expensive) thing that hits the market.
  13. defunksta

    defunksta Champion (870) Jan 18, 2019 North Dakota

    I think the root of the answer lies in that beers went from 12oz to 16oz. I used to be against the 16oz (and still am for most beers). I think the 16oz works well in some of the IPAs and lagers where you just want more than 12oz, as long as the ABV doesn't creep too high.
    Then, once they started making 16oz DDH IPAs for $4-5 for a pop, it makes it hard to sell a six pack of a beer for $30.
    Ultimately, like many others have said, it comes down to economics. That said, I much prefer the 4-packs, because I don't need six beers to tell if I like the beer.
  14. JayORear

    JayORear Meyvn (1,207) Feb 22, 2012 New York
    Society Trader

    For me, 16oz. is the perfect serving size. Most of the time would much rather have one pint than one or two 12oz. cans. Love what Bell's is doing with Two-Hearted, though: 12, 16, and 19.6 tallboy options.

    EDIT: I've noticed much fresher 12oz cans of Two Hearted than 16oz, leading me to believe that the 12oz format turns over faster in retail.
    #94 JayORear, Apr 25, 2020
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2020
  15. Grounder

    Grounder Initiate (74) Jun 20, 2019 Illinois

    I view it as a money grab. I understand that you get nearly the same amount of beer with 16oz cans , but it's still 4 opportunities instead of 6. Perhaps if 12oz felt too small to me (it does not), or I shared regularly (I am the only beer drinker here) I would have been of a different opinion. As it is I avoid 4-packs. I will still buy one occasionally, when it's something that I have not tried and comes from a local brewer, but I haven't made a repeat purchase so far.
  16. Bitterbill

    Bitterbill Poo-Bah (7,348) Sep 14, 2002 Wyoming
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    No. The BF I got last year was 6packs.
    2013, I bought 4packs for $6,79...
    beertunes likes this.
  17. PapaGoose03

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

    I don't think anyone has raised this point (at least it didn't click with me), but if you only buy a 4-pack, you run out of higher-cost beer more quickly, so you have to make another beer run to pay that same higher price than if it had been a 6x12 purchase. Big win for the brewery.
  18. beertunes

    beertunes Poo-Bah (7,662) Sep 24, 2007 Kiribati
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    Either way, I should just buy a case every year (like a couple of my friends do). I do like the stuff, especially at 3 years old and up.
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  19. JackHorzempa

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

    We can end this thread now - you pretty much summed this up here nicely (for the brewers).

    But if consumers are 'happy' paying for "higher-cost beer" and buying this "higher-cost beer" more frequently well...?

    I personally will continue to purchase beers in the six-pack/12 ounce format. Others may do as they may?:confused:

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  20. johnInLA

    johnInLA Savant (922) Jun 12, 2005 California
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    I'll throw this out there.

    I'm a fan of just about every format, 12oz, 16oz, 32 oz, 375ml, 500ml, 750ml. There is a time for each. But I'll admit magnums are a tormat I avoid.

    I think the six pack verses four pack debate really boils down to, do you buy alot of the same beer or do you have alot of varieity. For me even a four pack is a bit more than I prefer of a single beer. I rarely will buy a six pack. And this is a guy with nearly 100 bottles/cans on hand.
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  21. jkrich

    jkrich Meyvn (1,273) Nov 1, 2001 Florida

    Given the competition lately in the craft beer industry, many breweries are trying to squeeze every penny in profit. By resorting to the 16 oz. (or 12 oz.) four pack, the brewery has a better opportunity to stay in the black. I have seen some breweries switch to 4-packs only to return to 6-packs later. A couple of years ago, Cigar City brewery in Tampa admitted that they changed to 4-packs for the Tocobago red ale due to cost. While they returned to 6-packs of this fine ale later, I have to wonder if they may have "tweaked" the recipe. While I prefer the standard six-pack, if I am really interested in a beer, I will buy the four-pack.
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  22. Obsidian81

    Obsidian81 Initiate (58) Mar 3, 2016 Illinois

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  23. chuckstout

    chuckstout Initiate (61) May 22, 2006 Ohio

    Agree. I like my pint can SIXER'S of Great Lakes Dortmunder Gold and Heavy Seas Pounder Pils. Both go for 10 bucks a pop!
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  24. BruChef

    BruChef Aspirant (222) Nov 8, 2009 New York

  25. Ronmarley1

    Ronmarley1 Aspirant (233) Jan 20, 2014 Ohio

    Correct. Ruination was originally released in four packs. The point I was trying to make was that they then released it in six packs before they updated the recipe, as in the pic below.


    Then they released 2.0. Then they released it as 2.0 Sans Filtre, which is the current iteration.
    #105 Ronmarley1, Apr 26, 2020
    Last edited: Apr 26, 2020
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  26. Obsidian81

    Obsidian81 Initiate (58) Mar 3, 2016 Illinois

    Damn. I never saw those around me.
  27. Ronmarley1

    Ronmarley1 Aspirant (233) Jan 20, 2014 Ohio

    That was my “hands-down” favorite beer. 2.0 was good, but not the original. We don’t even get the current one in Ohio.
  28. CB_Michigan

    CB_Michigan Initiate (192) Sep 4, 2014 Illinois

    The past couple of summers, the Whole Foods near me has had 10.99 six-pack bottles of Oberon sitting on the floor in a case stack near the salad/soup bar. They also have16oz four-packs in the cooler for 7.99. Technically those cans were marked down from 9.99, but that "sale" price lasted the entire season. Beer that's been kept cold, in a more convenient package, that's cheaper on both a per-ounce and overall basis? Yeah, that's pretty much a no-brainer.
  29. Dansac

    Dansac Initiate (148) Dec 6, 2014 California

    Economics and a dumb market. Less quantity of beer, less cost in material, same or more price for the consumer. 24 dollar four packs for hazies is now very widely accepted. Even in supermarkets you see 18-21 dollar four packs routinely.

    The beer market chases blindly after novelty, even when it is different versions of the same being repackaged for sales. Think about Other Half or Monkish: amazing breweries at their best, but how many beers are almost indiscernible, and just variations in the label or so slight in the recipe. Now think, would they sell as much if they didn't keep putting out new beers? It's often aesthetics: pretty new cans with alluring names, and all too often with repeated contents.

    Beer habit is addictive, and people think they have to jump on the latest release because they don't want to risk missing a great one. But those are surprisingly rare even for great breweries: but rather than dissuading people to buy consistently, this makes people buy everything because they don't want to miss a good one when it comes. If the beer was consistently good and the same name, you would be fine not buying for some time and coming back after a bit, knowing you'll find he same quality always under the same brand. That's no longer the case, they make 3 new ipas every week or two.

    I've had so many mediocre Other Half IPAs in the last two years I have to question whether their insane number of releases is not just money grabbing at its worst. They are too good a brewery to not know what they're putting out.

    I personally don't think it is worth spending crazy money with IPAs, since reliability in quality is extremely fickle and even the big players like as I said Other Half often put out beer than does not match up well value wise with even a 10 dollar four pack of Port or Madewest (here in Cali). But with sours, the high players who charge premium for bottles are worth it imo.
    #109 Dansac, Apr 26, 2020
    Last edited: Apr 26, 2020
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  30. idiotwind

    idiotwind Initiate (39) Feb 14, 2014 California

    I don't like the 4/PK option. Unfortunately at the shop I go to, that's 75% of their "packaged" beer. Breweries make more money selling you less beer vs a 6/PK. Most 4/PK's are $15 and up. Could you imagine paying $15 for a 6/PK? Then add on tax and you're damn near $20 for 4 pints.

    Don't get me started on single cans and how they dominate shelf space at $7-9 per can...
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  31. SFACRKnight

    SFACRKnight Poo-Bah (1,772) Jan 20, 2012 Colorado
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    I bought a six pack of copper legend pounders for 8.99 and that's fantastic math.

    I also love all you fuckers arguing out of one side of your mouth "our beer industry is collapsing, support your local brewer" while the other side is begrudging brewers a 3 cent an ounce increase in profits. Seriously, fuck all of you hypocrites.
  32. unlikelyspiderperson

    unlikelyspiderperson Poo-Bah (1,546) Mar 12, 2013 California
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    Soooo just for the record, from folks who have reported pricing on the same brand in multiple packaging styles it seems like in that case there is no $/oz difference and sometimes the 4 packs are actually a little cheaper.

    So it doesn't seem to be a "money grab" by the breweries, rather they have a $/oz figure they are going to sell their beer at regardless of format and decide on the 4x format for other reasons. Possibly including the reason that they don't think anyone will buy $24 6 packs
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  33. jesskidden

    jesskidden Poo-Bah (2,089) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey
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    Simple math - there are 50% more 4 packs than 6 packs.

    EX: 1 case of beer (24 units) = FOUR six-pack or SIX four-packs.

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  34. cmiller4642

    cmiller4642 Disciple (318) Aug 17, 2013 West Virginia

    Honestly I like 4 packs just because it's easy to get burnt out on 6 of them and have the last can or 2 end up in the back of the fridge.

    If you get a 4 pack for the weekend you can do 1 beer Friday night, 2 beers on Saturday, and 1 beer Sunday.
  35. zid

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

    I feel like that second part wasn't aimed at me, but just in case it was meant to include me, I never took either stance you're mentioning.
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  36. joerooster

    joerooster Initiate (65) May 15, 2018 Virginia

    that extra 8oz you get with a six pack of 12oz is burning you out?

    with a six pack, you can do 2 Friday, 3 Saturday and 1 Sunday....basically the same thing as your
    beertunes likes this.
  37. ShaneP

    ShaneP Initiate (125) Jan 26, 2013 Indiana
    Brewery Trader

    I'll provide some brewery perspective. Most breweries use a 4-pk instead of 6-pk because of economics. Each case costs a certain amount to make. It's generally easier to sell a less expensive 4-pk than a more expensive 6-pk. Many buyers expect the 4-pk and 6-pk to be priced the same as people just think of it as a single purchase and less about the 64 vs 72 ozs. For example, for many buyers they are looking to spend $10 or $13 or $15 or $20. Some care if it's a 4-pk or 6-pk or 12-pk but a lot of people just are spending a certain amount of money for that specific buying occasion and they are looking for a specific beer or beer style or brewery.

    There are 6 x 4-pks to a case of 24 and only 4 x 6-pks in a case of 24. It's easier to hit a higher case price point selling the 6 x 4-pks. Breweries are businesses in the end and they have to cover the cost of canning, packaging, beer and the cost to make the beer.

    In our case we have always done 4-pk x 16 oz cans. Then for our two most popular beers we added a 12-pk x 12oz option in the last couple years. The 12-pk package works for us because we have strong distribution for these beers in grocery and liquor stores in addition to our brewery locations.

    You generally don't see a brewery with 12-pks or that do both 12 & 16 oz cans unless they get to larger volume. For example, there are only 3 Indiana based breweries that do both 12 oz & 16 oz options on their best selling beers and I'd expect it's only the largest local breweries in any given state with multiple package options. Again, something like ~95% of breweries are making less than a few thousand barrels a year, and ~80% are making less than 1000 bbls per year. The economics at smaller size make the 4-pk x 16 oz a better choice for the brewery or 4-pk x 12 oz which you also see more these days for both high ABV beer.

    Many large national/regional breweries that have very different economics so many of those offer multiple package options for beers they know they can do volume. (If it's top 200-ish brewery in volume) They spread their packaging costs because they buy way more volume at better prices, so they also can make the 6-pk x 12 oz price points work at scale where a smaller brewery can't.
  38. SFACRKnight

    SFACRKnight Poo-Bah (1,772) Jan 20, 2012 Colorado
    Society Trader

    i am sorry if you felt it was aimed at you. It was not. Nothing but respect for ya Zid. It was aimed more at the people i see on the covid threads championing support for their local breweries and bitching about high beer prices here.
  39. Bitterbill

    Bitterbill Poo-Bah (7,348) Sep 14, 2002 Wyoming
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    I pay $9-12 for 32 ounce Crowlers from a local (Skull Tree) and top it off with a tip.
    I hear ya aboot the bitching and send a fart in their general direction.
  40. MNAle

    MNAle Poo-Bah (1,934) Sep 6, 2011 Minnesota

    I don't see championing local breweries and pointing out that beer generally follows a reverse volume pricing scheme (and complaining about it) as hypocritical at all. They are two different issues.
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