Coca-Cola Introduced the Handy Six Pack in 1923
“Take Home a Carton, It’s Easy to Carry”
We’re used to the sight of cardboard six-pack carriers for bottled beverages but when the Coca-Cola Company first introduced the cardboard carrier carton, it was quite a great innovation.
The Coca-Cola Company introduced cardboard six-pack carriers in 1923. Although others have taken credit for the invention, it was Coca-Cola Company founder Asa Candler who conceived of a carton to enable customers to conveniently take six bottles of Coke home at a time. Candler had noticed a trend in the 1920s: people were stopping at their corner store to buy two or three bottles of Coke at a time to take home. Ever the entrepreneur, Candler meant to leverage the fact that most homes in the 1920s were getting refrigerators and that his customers would need a handy way to get multiple bottles of Coke home to be kept cool to drink later as opposed to purchasing cold bottles at the corner store daily. The idea was to get people to drink more Coke, and more often. The carton allowed people to carry more than three bottles home in a single trip to facilitate this increased consumption.
The Coca-Cola bottlers supplied cardboard carriers to stores selling Coke so the bottles could be packaged up at the time of purchase. The cartons were intended to be used three times before they were discarded. As a reminder, the cartons were clearly stamped, “Save the carton.”
The new carriers didn’t catch on immediately, so the Coca-Cola Company made a big push with a barrage of advertising. The new innovation became a wonderful vehicle for marketing Coke and customers began to respond well to the advertising. Other soft drink manufacturers and the beer industry took notice of Coke’s success with the six-pack carrier and began to utilize this marketing tool as well.
In 1924 the Coca-Cola Company patented the six-pack carrier design. A much simpler carton design than the one we know today, the carrier carton was proclaimed “a home package with a handle of invitation.” It became a handy way to dispense refreshment, and still is.