Pilsner Urquell cans get a modern makeover aimed to boost brand awareness  

The Original Pilsner is getting a spiffy new look. 

Pilsner Urquell, the Czech beer that set the international standard for Pilsner beers, has unveiled a new can design in the U.S. in an effort to simplify its look and feel at retail and boost on-shelf recognition.

Wrapped in a lightly textured soft cream hue to convey the 178-year-old brand’s history, the 16.9-ounce cans are punctuated by the brand’s signature red seal and stamped with “Pilsner Urquell” in its signature deep green script. A green band that encircles the top of the can labels the beer as “The original Pilsner brewed the original way.”

A box on the side of the cans gives a brief history lesson of the iconic beer, which launched the Pilsner style that has carried through to the modern-day beer market. In addition to top-selling beers like Miller Lite, Pilsners are back en vogue among American craft brewers as consumers migrate back to simplicity and sessionability.

Four-packs cold-shipped from the brewery in Pilsen to preserve freshness began trickling into retail stores in late July, replacing multicolored can designs that incorporated marks and designs used throughout the brewery’s history.

“The goal in our can redesign was to unify how the brand shows up in market, creating a more recognizable and consistent look across packages,” says Rose Osial, the brand’s marketing manager. “The team was focused on creating a design that clearly projects the brand’s heritage and tells the unique story of the beer as the Original Pilsner.”

The brand, which tends to shine in high-end bars and restaurants with its signature side-pour faucet and dimpled glassware, has been hurt by widespread closures due to the pandemic.  But it has accelerated in the off-premise, turning in one of its best performances in years so far in 2020, up 16.1% year-to-date, per Nielsen all-outlet and convenience data through Aug. 8. That’s outpacing the overall imports segment, which has logged 10.8% growth year-to-date. 

While cans make up only about 1/5 of total Pilsner Urquell sales, they’re growing at a higher rate than bottles as more consumers switch from glass to aluminum in at-home consumption, Osial says. And “they represent an opportunity for Pilsner Urquell and move faster than many European import competitors,” she says.

“We’re proud of our heritage as the Original Pilsner, which is still brewed the same way, in the same brewery, with the same Czech ingredients since 1842,” Osial says. “Pilsner Urquell’s new design will help continue to drive awareness for the most influential and imitated beer in history.”