How many mathematicians did the beer brand hire to make this work?

Mike Pomranz
October 08, 2018

When buying multiple cans of beer, the most common packaging sizes are 6-, 12-, and 24-packs. Mathematically, that system is sound. Yes, the 18-pack occasionally has its place. And hip craft brewers have had a recent affinity for the 4-pack. Of course, if a case isn’t enough, the 30-pack has proven popular. Heck, brewers have even unleashed crazy sizes like the 60-, 99-, and 1,000-pack… pretty much for no other reason than they could. Still, all these sizes make sense in their own special way… but the 77-pack? Natural Light says, why not?

Late last week, the Anheuser-Busch-produced brand Natural Light announced on Twitter that it would be introducing a limited-time-only 77-pack of 12-ounce cans available exclusively in College Park, home of the University of Maryland.

Why 77 beers? The strange number certainly isn’t for logistical reasons. Instead, Natty Light writes that the literally odd amount is “a nod to the year of our creation, 1977.” As for how you fit 77 beers—a number with only 7 and 11 as factors—snuggly into a single package, well, it’s not completely clear. The large case—said to weigh 65 pounds—is hexagonal in shape. And a photo taken of the inside shows an arrangement of four hexagons of beer: 18 cans surrounding 12 cans surrounding six cans with one single can in the middle. That adds up to a layer of 37 cans. Stack a second layer on top of that and you have 74 cans. Maybe the last three cans just get tucked into the top? Sadly, that final detail is still a mystery.

Luckily, we won’t have to wait long for the answer. Natural Light said that these new 77-packs would be arriving “in stores within the next few days.” And that was a few days ago.

As for why they are only being sold in College Park, Maryland, Natural Light didn’t provide any specific reason. It’s possible that’s where the PhDs in mathematics who were hired to design this 77-pack work. Though more likely it’s because where else but a college town can you find people who want to buy 77 cheap beers at the same time?

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