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Why a beverage company is covering soda cans with beer labels; a TikTok user's whimsical response

TikTok user's report, and suggestion, attracts a big audience
Phillips Brewing has faced a can shortage, which has become worse amid supply-chain problems during the pandemic. ADRIAN LAM, TIMES COLONIST

A temporary solution to a beer-can shortage has given a temporary boost to a Victoria TikTok user’s views.

Saying “I’m about to change some of your lives,” TikTok user Rebirthofbeefstew posted a short video four days ago showing the young woman peeling off the label of a Phillips Brewing Dinosour Stone Fruit Sour beer can to reveal the label of the non-alcoholic Sparkmouth Strawberry Sparkling Water made by Victoria-based Phillips.

The video suggests if you needed to get somewhere and wanted to take your brew with you, just peel off the label and you’re good to go.

It has been a popular video, having been viewed just over 282,400 times. Rebirthofbeefstew, who has 736 followers on the social media platform, had just over 71,500 views on her next most-popular video, though most of her 75 posts are in the range of a few hundred to a few thousand views.

But Matt Phillips, founder of Phillips Brewing, said getting around the rules is not the message the brewery wants to put out.

“There’s certainly no intent from us to make it easier for people to skirt the rules and we’re not advocating they do,” he said, noting the can repurposing is a very short-term measure until they get supplies back on track.

Phillips said the beer label on a soda can is down to a can shortage at the same time Dinosour saw a surge in popularity and the brewery was caught short. At the same time the brewer was phasing out the strawberry soda and had surplus cans.

“It kind of gives us a little extra supply,” he said. “I don’t really think we thought people would start peeling them off or anything like that. But I guess idle hands, right?”

Phillips said the can shortage has been a problem for three or four years and is partly a result of the increased number of products available. Supply chain issues as a result of the pandemic have not helped, he said.

“But really it’s that can [demand] has really overwhelmed the manufacturer’s ability to produce them, so you get into a situation where you have to forecast quite a ways out and even then you’re kind of fighting for supply,” Phillips said. “If your crystal ball six months ago wasn’t perfect, you end up wondering how are we going to make this work?”

Phillips doesn’t think repurposing the cans for a popular beer is a problem.

Indeed, there are already products on the market that anyone can buy to make a beer can look like a popular soda can in order to circumvent laws about drinking in public.

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