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.
Whiskey Richard is the founder of nomunication.jp, and has been saying he has lived in Japan for ten years for the past four years. He enjoys drinking basically anything except straight-up Campari.