Cascade Beer Drinkers Defeat Grocery Shrink Ray

When Fosters-owned Cascade beer (different from regular Fosters in that it tastes decent) switched to 330ml from 375ml while charging the same price, consumers let their discontent be known in a highly visible fashion: they stopped buying it. Fosters reported a 33% drop in sales and some retailers reported up to a 50% drop. In response to the steep drop-off, Fosters is going back to 375ml, the standard size for canned beers in Australia.

Foster’s cans 330ml stubbies [smh.com.au] (Thanks to Kevin!) (Photo: James Cridland)

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  1. SinDex23 says:

    You can expect riots in the street if St. James Gate ever changes the amount of Guinness in their cans.

  2. Patrick Henry says:

    Hurting companies by not buying their product? Whoda thunk it?

    I’d like to see massive support for the sugar pepsi coming out soon. Enough so that Coca Cola realizes it and Quality is brought back into the equation.

    • drb023 says:

      @Patrick Henry: Here in Tucson we get the Mexico Coca Cola made with sugarcane. I’m a Pepsi drinker myself, but I like the Coke with real sugar.

      • Taint_Too_Proud_To_Beg says:

        @drb023: We get it here in LA too. Not so easy to find but so worth it. It tastes immeasuably better with sugar. I think the glass bottle helps too. I’ll try Pepsi with real sugar though – I prefer Coke but with real sugar, maybe I’ll prefer Pepsi to US Coke. I salute Pepsi for not continuing down the cheap (high-fructose corn syrup) road.

    • bohemian says:

      @Patrick Henry: We went searching through the soda section at the grocery last week hoping they had already released it. I can’t remember the last time I went looking for some product based on learning about it. I am not even a huge Pepsi fan but I want to give it a try. I hope Coke gets a clue soon.

    • ExtraCelestial says:

      @Patrick Henry: I stopped drinking soda quite some time ago but I’m seriously considering buying some every now and again for that very reason.

    • Oranges w/ Cheese says:

      @Patrick Henry: The thing is, as it stands, sugar cola is immensely more expensive to produce, and since they are introducing it as a “novelty” product – it will probably be twice the price of regular soda – and they’ve already reduced 12 packs to 8 packs.

      • ludwigk says:

        Did they raise the price, and were people ok with that? Presumably they shrunk the cans to maintain price point, but if their customers backlashed, then that would require raising prices, right? In abstract, I prefer incremental price hikes to shrinking contents, particularly when manufacturers try to hide it by selling me more air, but I don’t know how the rest of the world would react to a higher price.

    • WorldHarmony says:

      @Patrick Henry: I’ve been abstaining from soda but would buy Pepsi “Throwback” for OTHER people just to show my support for a non-HFCS product. I know, however, that I will try one myself!

  3. EdgarAsclepius says:

    Hey,

    The company is fosters but the beer is Cascade – which is a great Tasmanian brew.

    And if you think Fosters is bad where you are, remember it has been reformulated. You can strip paint with the Aussie version.

    K

  4. albear says:

    Had too much Foster’s?

    Which is it, 357 ml or 375 ml?

  5. Garbanzo says:

    “Foster’s never intended to rip off its customers or make them unhappy by giving them less beer for the same money, [a spokeswoman] said.”

    So, what…they gave their customers less beer for the same money by accident? Did vandals sneak in to the bottling factory in the middle of the night and retool the production line and redesign all the labeling in secret?

    I was going to make some crack about Australian companies being lying liars just like American companies, but then I realized that American companies at least come up with more plausible sounding bullshit. Come on, Australia, step it up here.

  6. vision4bg says:

    Foster’s is almost certainly not Australian anymore. I don’t know a single other Aussie who drinks that crap.

    The article is referring to the Foster’s owned Cascade brewery, who do actually produce decent beer. It was total crap that they did this, but every Aussie brewer is reducing size and/or reducing the alcohol content. Lame.

    • h3llc4t, breaker of office dress codes says:

      @vision4bg: Nor do I. I have a friend who lives in Queensland and he described it as the Bud Light of Aussie beers.

    • Eyebrows McGee (now with double the baby!) says:

      @vision4bg: “I don’t know a single other Aussie who drinks that crap.”

      Have you not noticed that lots of “export” beers are not actually drunk in their home countries? I saw some “American” beers sold in Europe that I’d never HEARD of (and I like my beer), being advertised as “America’s favorite beer!” So when they say “Foster’s: Australian for beer” in the ads, I assume they mean, “Hey, I think you’ll buy this if you think Aussies drink it!”

  7. BuddyHinton says:

    I’m gald to haer that Fotsers is goign back to hte 357ml cnas.

    • Coles_Law says:

      @BuddyHinton: I had to read that twice to see what you did. Then my brain exploded.

      • karmaghost says:

        @Coles_Law: Whether BuddyHinton knew it or not, he was actually pointing out a neat brain trick. Fluent speakers/readers of English (I’m not sure if this works in other launguages) look at the overall shape of a word when they read it, so for many words, you can rearrange the middle letters as long as you keep the first and last the same. For example, Buddy typed “glad” as “gald” and “hear” as “haer.” When you look at them closely, they’re obviously wrong, but read an entire sentence, and it becomes diffciult to notice the diffreence.

        • Cattivella says:

          @karmaghost: I ran a psych experiment on that phenomenon for my research project. The words have to be in context for them to be as easily deciphered. People were able to understand the jumbled words easier within a sentence (even one made entirely of other jumbled words) than they were able to decipher the jumbled words standing alone. Also, in a long word the jumbled middle letters have to stay in the correct half of the word for the word to be deciphered quickly/easily.

  8. Dacker says:

    I can’t stand their regular lager int eh blue can, but their bitter in the green can is not too bad.

  9. Marshfield says:

    Could we force producers of Tuna, Ice Cream and other notorious shrink-ray users to go back to larger sizes just by boycotting them?

    Wouldn’t that be nice?

    I’m still smarting from the recent downsizing of tuna, one can barely makes 2 sandwiches any more. Used to get 4 if you were careful.

    • bohemian says:

      @Marshfield: I am boycotting tuna. The only reason I bought a few of their stunted cans was because the store had a 50 cent a can sale. Removing 1oz out of a 6oz can is a significant shrink.

      • HogwartsAlum says:

        @bohemian:

        The last time I bought tuna, it made me sick!

        And, it still says “CHUNK light tuna” on the can, but inside, it’s shredded. It looks like somebody already ate it. This is both Chicken of the Sea and StarKist. I don’t know what they are trying to do. Package up the tuna leftovers that fall off the saw?

        • orlo says:

          @Marshfield: Not really, since every brand has shrunken. The Aussies just switched to another beer, but in the USA companies are all in collusion.

          @HogwartsAlum: Yeah the chunk light is now worse than catfood. And including the shrinkage it now costs 50% more than 6 months ago. It’s not worth depleting the tuna fisheries for that crap

          • HogwartsAlum says:

            @orlo:

            I’m going to make salmon salad from now on, or buy tuna in the pouch. The stuff in the pouch is better and lots of times goes on sale for cheap.

    • Firethorn says:

      @Marshfield: I’m boycotting Breyers right now because of the shrink. As a bonus – I wrote Unilever a complaint, they sent me a coupon for a free .375 gallon and 2 dollar off coupons. So I bought 3 more. Last one is in the freezer, then I’m back to making my own.

      I don’t regularly buy tuna, so I haven’t noticed yet. Bought like a dozen cans on sale last time, but I’m out now and it’s on my list.

    • The Porkchop Express says:

      @Marshfield: 4? how about one big one? and now only one little one.

      I’m a pig.

    • ccbweb says:

      @Marshfield: Yes, you could. What you do is you don’t buy the product as they currently package it and if enough other people do that with you, they either stop selling the product or they package it differently.

    • Tiber says:

      @Marshfield: I tell myself that I’m going to buy less ice cream because this shrinking nonsense, but ice cream is my crack. I might at least switch to the ones who aren’t pulling this crap. I’ll look for 2 qt. versions first, and 1.75 qt 2nd. On that note, anyone know if they sell Blue Bell around East Lansing, Michigan? I heard good things, but I haven’t seen it.

  10. jrizos says:

    If you’re drinking any other crummy light lager, you’re wasting your time.

  11. Maurs says:

    @SinDex23: The draught bottles aren’t that size to save money, though, it’s the widget. You can’t really fault them for that if you still want the creamy simulated draught goodness. If you want more, I think the stouts are 12oz, yeah?

    • SinDex23 says:

      @Maurs: I typically don’t drink the bottles. I either go to my local bar and hope their their nitrogen pump isn’t broken or I begrudgingly drink the cans.

      • Raiders757 says:

        @SinDex23:

        It just costs so much for the cans though. I can’t help but get the bottles. Well used to that is. I’m out of a job and can’t afford Guinness right now.

  12. Anonymous says:

    ah Foster’s…for the people that really think they’re eating Australian fare and beer when they go to Outback Steakhouse.

  13. CumaeanSibyl says:

    Foster’s: Australian for “export.”

  14. Irish_Knight says:

    i like fosters….i could care less where it comes from…

  15. TheGuinnessTooth says:

    All beer should come in 500mL bottles/ cans in my opinion. I don’t understand why US consumers appear to be the only beer drinkers in the world that can’t seem to handle half liter bottles. Better yet bring out the 1L cans. I bought a great bit 1L can of Faxe in Hamburg last spring, and that was amazing.

    • rpm773 says:

      @TheGuinnessTooth: I hear what’s you’re saying, but then the comedic value of showing up to a party with a bunch of tall boys would diminish.

      Meh. Who am I kidding? At 33, those days are over…

    • ccbweb says:

      @TheGuinnessTooth: Yes, only US beer drinkers can’t handle half liter bottles.

      This story is about beer in Australia in 330 and 375ml bottles.

    • MeOhMy says:

      @TheGuinnessTooth: I guess I don’t drink fast enough but those 750mL/1L containers annoy me because the bottom 1/3 is warm and flat by the time I get down that far!

    • karmaghost says:

      @TheGuinnessTooth: Who said we can’t handle them? I dunno why we’re marketed 12oz bottles, but I would surely enjoy 16oz (or 16.9 oz, which would be your 500 ml) bottles better.

      Or even 19.2oz (568-ish ml) bottles, which would be an “Imperial” pint. Those 22oz bottles, though… I dunno, I’m kinda torn.

  16. Robobot says:

    @failurate: I keep waiting for beer manufacturers to change the size of 40′s. What a sad day that will be…

  17. zibby says:

    I’m still upset that they did away with the seam in the Foster’s can…was that when they started brewing it in Canada?

  18. westie1984 says:

    The standard packaged beer sizes in Australia is: cans (375ml), regular bottles (375ml) and ‘long neck’ bottles (750ml). But who drinks Fosters in Australia anyway? The most popular is VB also made by Foster’s Group

  19. RandomHookup says:

    Good news, boys and girls…

    The Wall Street Journal reported a withdrawal of the mighty forces of the Grocery Shrink Ray yesterday:

    Heinz is offering consumers larger ketchup bottles that sell at smaller price gaps to private label in the U.S. Meanwhile, Frito-Lay in North America will begin adding 20% more product to take-home bags of its corn-based Tostitos, Fritos, Cheetos and Doritos without increasing the price.

    [online.wsj.com]

    Victory will be ours!

  20. durkzilla says:

    I haven’t bought Breyer’s Ice Cream for 4 years because they led the downsizing of half gallons of ice cream. From 2 quarts to 1.75 and now to the embarrassingly small 1.5 quarts, all the while charging premium prices.

    It’s too bad, too, since I loved their vanilla bean ice cream and wouldn’t ever consider buying any other kind of ice cream. They lost me as a customer forever when I discovered other products for half the price that were just as good.

  21. Shannon Braun says:

    I’m Aussie (currently living in the US) and I wouldn’t drink that crap. In fact, you’d have a hard time finding it in stores or pubs back home.

  22. karmaghost says:

    You may be able to get away with shrink-raying some consumer goods, but beer drinkers are especially picky. Just take a look at the uproar that “falsie” glasses have caused in bars nationwide.

    Besides, if people pour out a beer and expect it to fill their glass to a certain level, you can bet that people will start to notice.

  23. Gokuhouse says:

    This needs to happen more often..I feel alone when boycotting a product or two because of price increases or less product.

  24. eric4ok says:

    Foster’s is brewed in Canada.

  25. StreamOfConsciousness says:

    Wait…you mean refusing to purchase items you are outraged over actually produces results?? Awesome!

  26. fatcop says:

    Hey look, mister – we serve hard drinks in here for men who want to get drunk fast, and we don’t need any characters around to give the joint “atmosphere”