Carlton Dry ditches ring pulls: "We were wrong"

Carlton Dry ditches ring pulls: "We were wrong"

CUB announced this week it's reverting to twist tops on Carlton Dry stubbies, less than three months after introducing ring pulls.

On Facebook, the brand summed up its decision by saying: "We F’d up. Ring pull bad. Twist top good. Changing back at good price."

The post has been shared more than 8000 times and attracted 33,000 comments. And Carlton Dry has been busily responding to them with humour and good grace.

One follower even noted: "Whoever does their social media, well done."

In the official statement, CUB said: "In October last year, we replaced the twist tops on our Carlton Dry stubbies with ring pulls.

"We thought this would make Australia’s most uncomplicated beer even simpler. We were wrong.

"We’ve listened to our consumers and it’s clear they prefer opening their beers the more traditional way. So we’re going back to twist tops. It wasn’t broken and we shouldn’t have tried to fix it.

"We are sorry to our loyal Carlton Dry drinkers. Of all the brands to overcomplicate things, it should never have been us. We hope this is a step towards consumers enjoying opening our beer again."

According to News Corp consumers were fuming about the new caps, dubbing them “finger shredders”, “ridiculous” and “rubbish”.

The introduction of the controversial ring pulls even triggered a “Boycott the new Carlton Dry bottles” Facebook page.

"In a bid to quell unrest, the brewer even resorted to releasing a video explaining how drinkers should place their thumb on the cap and pull the ring out, then up," it reported. 

"Frustrated customers grappling with the packaging have been posting pictures of opening fails on social media and threatening to ditch the brand. Some have also shared images of cut or bloodied fingers, accusing Carlton Dry of unleashing a hazard."

Carlton Dry has responded to consumers reporting injuries with the message: "So sorry to see this has happened to your finger when opening our new ring pulls. How is your finger doing now? Could you please send us a private message your details (email and mailing address) along with a photo of your injury so our quality team can contact you to discuss further."

Others simply lamented the loss of the “shh” sound that comes with twisting the top off a stubbie.

Expensive misstep for CUB

It was clear within weeks of Carlton Dry switching to ring pulls in October that there were consumer concerns about the switch.

In November the brand was even forced to release a video showing beer drinkers how to correctly remove a ring pull.

However, the controversy continued. 

"Campaigns aside, our first and biggest concern is always the consumer experience,"  Carlton Dry brand director Brian Phan told AdNews. "At the end of the day we sell beer, beer that people need to open to enjoy. If we made that experience even a little bit worse then we have done the wrong thing,"

Carlton Dry twist tops will be back in the market in March.

Price rises capped

At the same time as it changed to ring pulls, Carlton Dry bottles were also reduced from 355ml to 330ml. The brewer noting that it was "so we could avoid increasing the price – keeping it as one of the most affordable beers on the market."

"To keep our prices unchanged on the Carlton Dry stubbies we’re not passing on any of our increases in production costs for a 12-month period and we won’t pass on the Government’s February increase in beer tax," CUB said. "This will help keep Carlton Dry prices as low as possible.

According to Future Market Insights, increasing demand for convenience packaging and bottle opening solutions is projected to be a key factor pushing the global demand for ring pull caps.

FMI notes: "Ring pull caps offer convenience in opening bottles, cans, and tins by simply puling the ring on the top of the products. This also eliminates the requirement of an opener, traditionally required for opening a crown cap.

"Moreover, ability of ring pull caps to hold high pressure of carbonated and non-carbonated drinks, would further drive the global ring pull caps market.

"Expanding at a steady CAGR of 5.1% during the assessment period of 2018-2028, the global ring pull caps is expected to reach a market valuation of $US480.8 million by 2028."

Not, however, among Carlton Dry lovers. 

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