The beer brand suggests the key to eliminating six-pack rings may be the cans themselves.

By Mike Pomranz
June 20, 2019
Juanmonino/Getty Images

Eliminating single-use plastic waste has once again taken hold of our collective conscious — be it plastic bags or plastic straws or plastic bottles. But the beer world had one of the earliest plastic problems: six-pack rings. Getting rid of these rings became a big concern when word got out that they could entangle marine life. And yet, here we are, decades later, and — despite some interesting efforts like sticking cans together with glue or rings that are actually edible — the six-pack ring problem still hasn’t been definitively solved.

But Corona has unveiled another interesting solution, one that’s been right in front of us the entire time: the cans themselves. Corona Fit Packs are specially-designed to allow cans to interlock together like some sort of beer Lego system. Like nuts and bolts, each can is threaded on the top and bottom so that the top of one can can be screwed into the bottom of another. Corona explains that this system is strong enough to hold ten cans in a single column.

"In the beverage industry, there have been many solutions for cutting back the use of plastic; however, none has been fully adopted because they require the use of other materials,” explains AB InBev Marketing VP Carlos Ranero in a promotional video. “This solution has a very simple approach that can bring great financial benefits thanks to the complete removal of plastic materials in packaging.”

Of course, stacking cans end-to-end isn’t always ideal. Ten standard cans stacked on top of each other would be four feet tall. That’s far more conspicuous and unwieldy than holding a couple six-packs under your arms. But at the same time, since these Fit Pack cans can be twisted apart and put back together at will, they provide an advantage six-packs don’t: You can stick together as many or as few cans as you want at any given time.

The Fit Pack design received international attention this week after being recognized at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity in France. The Fit Packs are reportedly currently part of a pilot program in Corona’s home country of Mexico, but these unique cans could eventually be rolled out to other markets if they prove successful. Additionally, Corona Brand Director Clarissa Pantoja says that the can design will be “opensource” so that anyone interested in the innovation can use it.

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