Pigskin Packaging: Bottles & Cans

On left: a drawing from John F Stark & Ronald W. Morrison’s 1983 design patent for a beverage can; on right a Dr. Pepper football bottle

Over the years, we’ve looked at a number of soccer-related packages, but until now we’ve neglected football, in the American & Canadian sense of the word.

Where packaging, designed to attract soccer fans, tends to emulate the polyhedral construction of a soccer ball, football packs are all about stitches and pigskin texture.

Coors Beer has invested heavily in the pigskin packaging.

Coinciding with the start of the National Football League season last month, Golden, CO-based Coors Brewing issued a limited-edition “Pigskin” bottle debossed with leather-like grain, dimples and stitching found on real footballs.

Pigskin graphics also adorn 12- 16- and 24-oz cans but it’s the 12-oz NR amber glass bottle that’s especially striking.

Coors kicks off season with football bottle
Packworld, September 30, 1998

I’m no sports guy, but to me, the football cans are more striking since they’re more of a stretch. (I like to see cylinders trying to pass themselves off as prolate spheroids.)

Top: a Coors football can, bottom: drawing from two separate 1998 design patents (both assigned to Coors)

More recently, Miller brewing has been making football CaBottles.

The orange version above looks closer to a standard leather football, but there are also Miller cabottles available in a number of non-regulation colors.

Dr. Pepper, whose football bottle appears at the top of this page, also got industry press:

In time for football season, Dr Pepper’s launch this fall of a football-shaped, 21-oz single-serve bottle is scoring a touchdown with sports enthusiasts and Dr Pepper fans alike. With its pebbled surface, representation of “stitches” and “pigskin”-colored Dr Pepper full-body sleeve label…

Dr Pepper’s new limited edition football shaped bottle
Packaging Digest, December 1, 2008

 While Dr. Pepper holds the 2010 design patent for their bottle, a very similar looking football-shaped-bottle was designed for PlastiPak in 1999. (This makes sense since PlastiPak also manufactured the Dr. Pepper football bottles.)

On left: 1999 Plastipak football bottle: on right: 2010 Dr. Pepper football bottle

(More Coors football bottles and my favorite football bottle, after the fold…)

On left: drawing from a 1998 design patent; on right: drawing from a 2002 design patent (both assigned to Coors)


Above (my favorite) Richard Leon’s 1991 design patent for a football shaped bottle looks as if it were meant to be made of glass and the indication of pigskin texture is reminiscent of effervescent bubbles.

Also: this 1969 ad from Schlitz…

See also: Upside-Down Branding

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