With craft and imported beer bringing consumers back to beer, bottles and labels have to look snazzier than ever, all while not harming the environment. It’s no wonder that kegs and cans are being marketed more now than in the recent past. Polyethylene terephthalate and paper don’t have the same carbonation retention abilities as glass, but aluminum certainly does, and it is a much more suitable material for recycling.

This next year could see some major changes. Talks of an acquisition of Anheuser-Busch by InBev could spark a stronger-than-ever international focus, which could put well-recognized brands such as Budweiser and Michelob alongside ones such as Stella Artois and Beck’s. As of this writing, a deal estimated at $46 billion was on the table, with some hopes that major shareholder Warren Buffet would approve and guide the acquisition. This transaction may encourage merger talks among other players just to stay competitive.

1. InBev

Package and label design have to appeal to different demographics and different cultures when your product is an international favorite. InBev’s flagship brands, Stella Artoisand Beck’s, are still tying the international beer market together, with the company redesigning packaging for thelatter of the two, particularly with its newest product, Beck’s Vier. Stella Artois’ signature neck label, however, has stayed and retained the beer’s premium image.

2. Heineken

Heineken saw several new packaging developments that now cause consumers to think “keg.” 2007 saw the introduction of the DraughtKeg, which comes with a snap-on tap to deliver the beer. The company also released its new 12-ounce can, which is shaped like a miniature aluminum keg.

3. Anheuser-Busch

Anheuser-Busch saw a $176 million pretax profit in 2007, a21% increase over 2006. Michelob Lager and Michelob Lightbottles have been redesigned as embossed teardrop bottles, based on the original design in 1961, and Michelob’s lowcarb ULTRA’s 2.4% sales increase was due in part to the newslim-can packaging, along with the new ULTRA Fruit brands.