Beer bottle

Beer bottle

A beer bottle is a glass (or, less commonly, plastic) container filled with beer. Bottled beer has been in use since as early as the 16th century. Beer bottles come in various sizes, shapes and colours. Dark glass prevents light from spoiling the beer. However, lighter coloured bottles are often used for marketing reasons.

The first nationwide standardised beer bottles were introduced in Sweden in 1886. The medium size, convert|330|ml|impfloz U.S.floz|1|lk=on|abbr=on, is still in use today, but is being phased outFact|date=October 2008.

Bottling lines

Bottling lines are production lines that fill beer into bottles on a large scale.

This typically involves drawing beer from a holding tank and filling it into bottles in a filling machine ("filler"), which are then capped, labeled and packed into cases or cartons. Many smaller breweries send their bulk beer to large facilities for contract bottling - though some will bottle by hand.

The first step in bottling beer is "depalletising", where the empty bottles are removed from the original pallet packaging delivered from the manufacturer, so that individual bottles may be handled. The bottles may then be rinsed with filtered water or air, and may have carbon dioxide injected into them in attempt to reduce the level of oxygen within the bottle. The bottle then enters a "filler" which fills the bottle with beer and may also inject a small amount of inert gas (CO2 or nitrogen) on top of the beer to disperse oxygen, as O2 can ruin the quality of the product by oxidation.

Next the bottle enters a labelling machine ("labeller") where a label is applied. The product is then packed into boxes and warehoused, ready for sale. [Brody, A. L., and Marsh, K, S., "Encyclopedia of Packaging Technology", John Wiley & Sons, 1997, ISBN 0-471-06397-5]

Bottle Styles


A short glass bottle used for beer is generally called a "stubby". Shorter and flatter than longneck bottles, stubbies pack into a smaller space for transporting. The bottles are sometimes made with thick glass so that the bottle can be cleaned and reused before being recycled. The capacity of a stubby is generally somewhere between 330 and 375 millilitres nowrap|(11–13 fl oz). [The convert|375|ml|impfloz U.S.floz|abbr=on is used in Australia.]

Some of the expected advantages of stubby bottles are:
*easier to handle
*chills faster Fact|date=August 2008
*less breakage
*lighter in weight
*less storage space
*lower centre of gravity
*can't be gripped as a weapon

Stubbies are used extensively in Europe, and were used almost exclusively in Canada from 1962 to 1986 as part of a standardization effort intended to reduce breakage, and the cost of sorting bottles when they were returned by customers. Due to their nostalgic value, stubbies were reintroduced by a number of Canadian craft brewers in the early 2000s. Ontario's monopolistic beer retailer, Brewers Retail, caused an uproar in 2002 when it withheld industry standard longneck bottles from those breweries that were offering stubbies. In the United States, stubbies have generally fallen out of favour, with only a few brands still using them such as the Session Lager by the Full Sail Brewing Company, and Red Stripe, a Jamaican brand import.

An often overlooked benefit of the stubby bottle is the ability to throw it back, meaning there is little chance of the beer's foaming and creating a head, thus overflowing the bottle.


Australian longneck

The Australian longneck is a bottle of convert|750|ml|impfloz U.S.floz|1|abbr=on capacity.Fact|date=March 2008 In Queensland a longneck is known as a "tallie". In Western Australia a longneck is known as a "king brown". Carlton & United Beverages had increased their longneck size to convert|800|ml|impfloz U.S.floz|1|abbr=on, but have recently reverted back to the 750 ml bottle.

North American longneck

A North American longneck is a type of beer bottle with a long neck. It is known as the standard longneck bottle or industry standard bottle (ISB). The ISB longnecks have a uniform capacity, height, weight and diameter and can be reused on average 16 times. The long neck offers a long cushion of air to absorb the pressure of carbonation to reduce the risk of exploding. The American longneck holds 12 U.S. fl oz (355 ml). The Canadian longneck holds 12 imp fl oz (341 ml).

In Canada, in 1992, the large breweries agreed to all use a longneck bottle of standard size, thus replacing the traditional stubbie bottle.


A bomber is a convert|22|U.S.floz|abbr=on glass bottle that is commonly sold in American specialty markets and brewpubs. Bombers typically contain two to three servings of beer, which may be shared amongst friends. They are also a popular bottle type with homebrewers.

outh African Quarts

In South Africa a 750-millilitre bottle is referred to as a "quart".


A forty is American slang for a 40 U.S. fl oz (1180 ml/41.6 imp fl oz) bottle commonly used for malt liquor. Forties are more than three times as large as the standard American 12-U.S.-fluid-ounce (355 ml) serving of beer.


A growler is a U.S. half gallon (1890 ml/66.6 imp fl oz) glass jug used to transport draft beer in the United States. They are commonly sold at breweries and brewpubs as a means to sell take-out beer. Some breweries also offer a one-litre or one-quart version. Growlers are also used by homebrewers as an alternative to kegs or smaller bottles for carbonating and storing their beer.

Growlers are generally made of glass and have either a screw-on cap or a hinged porcelain gasket cap which can provide freshness for a week or more. A properly sealed growler will hold carbonation indefinitely, but it is not an appropriate means of long term beer storage since it is not a sanitized form of packaging. [cite web]

Darwin Stubby

A two-litre (70 imp fl oz/67 U.S. fl oz) "Darwin Stubby" is available in Australia's Northern Territory. It is quite expensive and thus mostly a tourist gimmick. The Darwin Stubby was first introduced in April 1958 with an convert|80|impfloz|ml U.S.floz|sigfig=3|adj=on capacity.Fact|date=July 2008

Ballena bottles

In Mexico, "ballena" is a popular name for a convert|940|ml|impfloz U.S.floz|1|abbr=on beer bottle. The Mexican beer brands which are sold in these bottles include Tecate, Carta Blanca, Sol, Indio, Victoria, Corona Familiar, Caguama and Pacifico. "ballena" means "whale" in Spanish] .

De Nederlandse Bierfles ("pijpje")

Most beer producers in the Netherlands sell their beers in a convert|300|ml|impfloz U.S.floz|1|abbr=on bottle called "De Nederlandse Bierfles". De Nederlandse Bierfles is more commonly known as "pijpje" (little pipe). The pijpje was introduced in 1986.

Lightstruck beer

Lightstruck, or skunked, beer has been exposed to ultraviolet and visible light. The light causes riboflavin to react with and breakdown isohumulones, a molecule that contributes to the bitterness of the beer and is derived from the hops. The resulting molecule, "3-methylbut-2-ene-1-thiol", is very similar to a skunk's natural defenses. [ [ Riboflavin-sensitized photooxidation of isohumulones and derivatives] ]

In some cases, such as Miller High Life, a hop extract that does not have isohumulones is used to bitter the beer so it cannot be "lightstruck". Bottles with dark brown glass give some protection to the beer, but green and clear glass offer virtually no protection at all. [ [] C.H. Evans Brewing Company - Beer Flavors 2: Skunkiness]

Bottle identifier bumps

The "bumps" are moulded in by the glass manufacturer and identify the mould that produced the bottle. They can be read electronically by the glass company in the case of a glass defect to allow for identification of the mould and containment of other bottles produced on the same mould.

ee also

*Aluminum can or Beverage can
*Box wine
*Widget (beer)
*Wine bottle




* Colin S. Burns, Arne Heyerick, Denis De Keukeleire, , Malcolm D. E. Forbes, (2001) " [ Mechanism for Formation of the Lightstruck Flavor in Beer Revealed by Time-Resolved Electron Paramagnetic Resonance] "
* Richard Pozdrik, Felicity A. Roddick, Peter J. Rogers, and Thang Nguyen, (2006) " [ Spectrophotometric Method for Exploring 3-Methyl-2-butene-1-thiol (MBT) Formation in Lager] "

External links

* [ Historic beer bottles]
* [ Website for The Canadian Stubby Beer Bottle]
* [ Article on stubbies which mentions the newer longnecks.]
* [ FAQ]
* [ Curious Cook - In the dark: olive oil, milk, butter, and beer]

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