The unexpected value of beer sounds

Carlos Velasco

Can sounds influence our perception of whether a beer is more or less premium?

Research @BI: Multisensory Marketing

A product’s packaging has multiple sensory cues such as colours, shapes, textures, weight, a specific temperature ‒ but also sounds. The influence of packaging sounds (e.g., opening, pouring) on consumers’ brand expectations and experiences has not been widely studied.

However, recent research suggests that these sounds can be important when it comes to brand differentiation.

Several companies have already begun exploring packaging changes in order to enhance the experiences of their brands. For instance, Beck’s Brewery redesigned their bottles with a narrower neck because consumers seem enjoy the pouring sound that derives from it.

The influence of sounds on consumers’ experiences also extends to other brand elements. In February this year, Mastercard launched their own “sonic logo” to accommodate the growing voice-controlled shopping industry, which has been estimated to be worth more than $40 billion by 2022.

The Centre for Multisensory Marketing at BI has been working with the Japanese company Asahi Breweries to better understand the experiential value of multisensory properties associated with beer brands. One of our goals in this work has been to learn whether multisensory packaging cues play a bigger role than we think when evaluating products and brands.

In particular, we have conducted a study in Norway, UK, Italy, and the Czech Republic to assess, among others, how beer opening and pouring sounds could be used to differentiate a premium brand.

Watch the video below to see what the researchers discovered ‒ and why brands perhaps should pay more attention to sound when designing their products!


  • Velasco, C. & Spence, C (Eds). (2019). Multisensory packaging: Designing new product experiences. Cham: Palgrave MacMillan.
  • Quito, A. (2019, February 13). Mastercard’s new “sonic logo” will play every time you make a purchase. Retrieved from https://goo.gl/qwobbA
  • Spence, C., & Wang, Q. J. (2015). Sensory expectations elicited by the sounds of opening the packaging and pouring a beverage. Flavour, 4:35.

The unexpected value of beer sounds

Published 29. March 2019

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