Asahi Beer wins design award for senior-friendly mini beers

So in Japan, tiny cans of beer are a thing. You’ve got your regular cans at 350ml/12oz, and tallboys at 500ml/16oz. Just like the rest of the world. But in Japan there are two smaller sizes: 250ml and the miniscule 135ml. That’s like 3 shots… of beer!

It turns out old people in Japan really like these small beers. According to Asahi, for the 250ml and 135ml sizes, over 70% of the sales are to people over 50 years old. Seniors are also a thing in Japan, as you’ve probably heard, so Asahi has a vested interest in keeping them happy.

The decline of fine motor skills is extremely common in late adulthood, which unfortunately for Asahi, are what’s needed to open a can of beer. So they set out to make their cans easier to open.

They’ve now picked up an award for this redesigned 135ml beer can: the “Japan Package Design Association Award” was awarded to Asahi Beer at the 2017 Japan Packaging Contest.

What exactly changed?

  • The top of the can was made thinner such that the internal pressure pushes up the middle of the can top. This results in a 0.2mm gap between the can top and the pull tab (i.e. the pull tab doesn’t sit flush on the top)
  • The “finger hole” where you pull the pull tab was made twice as deep and 50% larger
  •  The tab itself is a “step up” in the middle making it easier to pull
  • The mouth of the can is 25% larger than before

Considering the rapid greying of Japan’s population, expect to see much more of this kind of thing in the future.

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