A beer bottle is a bottle designed as a container for beer. Such
designs vary greatly in size and shape, but the glass commonly is
brown or green to reduce spoilage from light, especially
The most widely established alternatives to glass containers for beer
in retail marketing are beverage cans and aluminum bottles; for larger
volumes kegs are in common use.
1 Bottling lines
2 Shape and size
2.1 Stubby and steinie
2.6 Longneck, Industry Standard
Bottle (ISB) or North American
2.7 Large bottles
2.10 Small bottles
2.11 "Darwin Stubby"
2.12 "Caguama" and "Ballena" bottles
5 Use as weapons
6 Lightstruck beer
7 See also
9 Further reading
10 External links
Main article: Bottling line
Bottling lines are production lines that fill beer into bottles on a
The process is typically as follows: 1) Filling a bottle in a filling
machine (filler) typically involves drawing beer from a holding tank
2) Capping the bottle, labeling it and 3) Packing the bottles 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.
Depending on the magnitude of the bottling endeavour, there are many
different types of bottling machinery available. Liquid level machines
fill bottles so they appear to be filled to the same line on every
bottle, while volumetric filling machines fill each bottle with
exactly the same amount of liquid. Overflow pressure fillers are the
most popular machines with beverage makers, while gravity filling
machines are most cost effective. In terms of automation, inline
filling machines are most popular, but rotary machines are much faster
albeit much more expensive.
Shape and size
This section needs additional citations for verification. Please help
improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources.
Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. (March 2016) (Learn
how and when to remove this template message)
Stubby and steinie
Australian 375 ml stubbie
A short glass bottle used for beer is generally called a stubby, or
originally a steinie. Shorter and flatter than standard bottles,
stubbies pack into a smaller space for transporting. The steinie was
introduced in the 1930s by
Joseph Schlitz Brewing Company
Joseph Schlitz Brewing Company and derived
their name from their similarity to the shape of a beer stein, which
was emphasized in marketing. 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 ml (11.6 and 13.2 imp fl oz; 11.2 and
12.7 U.S. fl oz). The Canadian stubby bottle was
traditionally 341 ml (11.5 U.S. fl oz;
12.0 imp fl oz) while the U.S. longneck was 355 ml
(12.0 U.S. fl oz; 12.5 imp fl oz). Some
of the expected advantages of stubby bottles are: ease of handling;
less breakage; lighter in weight; less storage space; and lower center
After the relaxation of Prohibition in the U.S. in 1936, many
breweries began marketing beer in steel cans. The glass industry
responded by devising short bottles with little necks, nicknamed
stubbies, and types with short necks were called steinies. Capacities
varied, with 12oz being the most common size used for soft drinks. The
steinie dominated in the U.S. by 1950, and the neck became longer,
such as seen with the familiar Budweiser bottle. Stubbies were popular
in Canada until the 1980s. Today, standard SP
Lager from Papua New
Guinea is one of the few beers still sold in 12oz neckless stubbies.
The U.S. steinie shape now dominates for small beer bottles the world
over, in sizes from half-pint to the European 500ml. The word stubbie
is now only in common use in Australia.
German 330ml Steinie
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. In the U.S., 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, Switchback Brewing Co in
Burlington, VT, and Red Stripe, a Jamaican brand import. Coors Brewing
Company currently uses the stubby form for nostalgic packaging of
Coors Banquet .
Belgian beer is usually packaged in 330 ml
(11.6 imp fl oz; 11.2 U.S. fl oz)
bottles in four or six packs, or in 750 ml
(26.4 imp fl oz; 25.4 U.S. fl oz)
bottles similar to those used for Champagne. Some beers, usually
lambics and fruit lambics are also bottled in 375 ml
(13.2 imp fl oz; 12.7 U.S. fl oz)
Through the latter part of the 20th century, most British brewers used
a standard design of bottle, known as the London Brewers' Standard.
This was in brown glass, with a conical medium neck in the pint and
with a rounded shoulder in the half-pint and nip sizes. Pints, defined
as 568 ml (20.0 imp fl oz;
19.2 U.S. fl oz), and half-pints, or 284 ml
(10.0 imp fl oz; 9.6 U.S. fl oz) were
the most common, but some brewers also bottled in nip (1/3-pint) and
quart (2-pint) sizes. It was for example mostly barley wines that were
bottled in nips, and Midlands breweries such as Shipstone of
Nottingham that bottled in quarts. This standardisation simplified the
automation of bottling and made it easier for customers to recycle
bottles as they were interchangeable. They carried a deposit charge,
which in the 1980s rose to seven pence for a pint and five pence for a
half-pint. Some brewers however used individual bottle designs: among
these were Samuel Smith, which used an embossed clear bottle, and
Scottish and Newcastle, which used a clear bottle for their Newcastle
Brown Ale (both designs survive in the 500 ml
(16.9 U.S. fl oz; 17.6 imp fl oz) size
today). Other brewers such as Timothy Taylor had used their own
embossed bottles and rare examples continued to be reused into the
1980s. During the 1980s the industry turned away from refillable
bottles and UK beer bottles are now all one-trip, and most are 500 ml
(16.9 U.S. fl oz; 17.6 imp fl oz) or 330 ml
(11.2 U.S. fl oz; 11.6 imp fl oz) in
volume. The compulsory high recycled-content of these bottles makes
them very dark and the lack of temper makes them chip easily when
being opened.
Most beer producers in the
Netherlands sell their beers in a brown
300 ml (10.6 imp fl oz;
10.1 U.S. fl oz) bottle. Its official name is Bruin
Nederlands Retour CBK-fles (Brown Dutch Return CBK Bottle), with CBK
standing for Centraal Brouwerij Kantoor, the former name of the Dutch
trade association of larger breweries, Nederlandse Brouwers. The
name is abbreviated as BNR-fles, but the bottle is more commonly known
as pijpje (nl) (little pipe).
The total length of the bottle is 207 mm, with a conical neck of
about one-third of that length. The bottles carry a 10-cent deposit.
The breweries share a pool of re-usable bottles of the same type.
In Germany, approximately 99% of beer bottles are reusable deposit
bottles and are either 330 ml (11.6 imp fl oz;
11.2 U.S. fl oz) or 500 ml
(17.6 imp fl oz; 16.9 U.S. fl oz). At
any given time, an estimated 2 billion beer bottles are in
circulation in Germany, each of which sees an average of 36 reuses.
The deposit for beer bottles sealed with crown corks is €0.08; for
bottles with flip-top closures, the deposit is €0.15.
The Euro bottle was the main shape in use until the 1980s, when many
breweries began to switch over to NRW and Longneck bottles, both of
which are available as 330ml and 500ml bottles. The current market
leader is the NRW bottle with a market share of 39%, followed by
Longneck at 33%. Many smaller, traditional breweries have retained
the Euro bottle as part of their corporate identity, particularly
Augustiner, Tegernseer, and Schlenkerla.
Common German bottles
330ml "Steinie" bottle
500ml Euro bottle
500ml NRW Bottle
330ml NRW Bottle, also called "Vichy" bottle
330ml Longneck bottle
Longneck, Industry Standard
Bottle (ISB) or North American
A 12-oz Industry Standard
Bottle (left) compared to a 40-oz bottle
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 U.S.
ISB longneck is 355 ml (12.5 imp fl oz;
12.0 U.S. fl oz). In Canada, in 1992, the large
breweries all agreed to use a 341 ml
(12.0 imp fl oz; 11.5 U.S. fl oz)
longneck bottle of standard design (named AT2), thus replacing the
traditional stubby bottle and an assortment of brewery-specific
long-necks which had come into use in the mid-1980s.
In the U.S. a "bomber" (shown) is 22 U.S. fl oz
(650.6 ml; 22.9 imp fl oz); the European standard
large bottle is 750-milliliter (25 U.S. fl oz;
26 imp fl oz) (in South Africa referred to as a
In the United States, large bottles are 22 U.S. fl oz
(650.6 ml; 22.9 imp fl oz) (colloquially called a
"bomber"or a "deuce, deuce" or "double deuce"); the European and
Australian standard large bottle is 750-milliliter
(25.4 U.S. fl oz; 26.4 imp fl oz). In
South Africa and Canada they are referred to as a "quart"; in
Australia they are known colloquially as a "longneck","king brown",
"tallie", or simply a "bottle".
A "forty" is American slang for a 40-U.S.-fluid-ounce (1,200 ml;
42 imp fl oz) bottle commonly used for cheaper
varieties of beer and of malt liquor, though some
32-U.S.-fluid-ounce (950 ml; 33 imp fl oz) bottles
are erroneously called forties.
Main article: Growler (jug)
A growler (/ˈɡraʊlər/) is a glass, ceramic, or stainless steel jug
used to transport draft beer in the United States, Canada, Australia,
Brazil and other countries. They are commonly sold at breweries and
brewpubs as a means to sell take-out craft beer.
In the United States, a growler is a half gallon, or 64 U.S. fl oz
(1,892.7 ml; 66.6 imp fl oz). Less commonly can be found
"growlerettes" or "howlers", which are half-growlers, or 32 U.S. fl
There are also smaller bottles, called nips, ponies (United
States), cuartitos (Mexico, "little fourth", compare to larger mediana
"half"), throwdowns or grenades (Australia), among other names.
In the United States, the size of these bottles is usually
7 U.S. fl oz (207 ml), and are similar to the size
Pepsi Cola bottles. The term pony dates to
the 19th century, and is due to the diminutive size, being
used earlier for a pony glass, and similarly for a pony keg. The
best-known brands of ponies are
Rolling Rock (pony introduced 1939?)
Miller High Life
Miller High Life (pony introduced 1972), and the 7 oz size
Rolling Rock likely contributed to the standardization on this
size. Other major brands (Budweiser, Coors, Miller) are also
regionally available in 7 oz bottles; these were introduced in the
early 1970s, around the time of
Miller High Life
Miller High Life being so-packaged.
Bud Light Lime
Bud Light Lime has started to be sold in ponies, called
The popularity of
Rolling Rock ponies has led to the folk etymology
that "pony" is from the
Rolling Rock horse logo. This is incorrect:
the term "pony of beer" in the United States predates Rolling Rock
(introduced 1939) by over 50 years, and advertising for Rolling Rock
from the 1950s uses the term "pony bottle" generically, stating
Rolling Rock is the Largest Selling 7 oz. Pony
Beer in Pennsylvania".
Among Mexican beers, Corona sells ponies, branded as Coronita, from
the Spanish diminutive -ita.
In Australia, a limited range of beers are available in a 250 ml
(8.8 imp fl oz; 8.5 U.S. fl oz)
bottle, nicknamed a throwdown or grenade.
In the United States, small bottles are most popular for the
on-premises market, where they are sold by the bucketful. The
motivation in the 1970s was to target lighter drinkers, and to ensure
that the lager beer stayed cold until finished. The market for beer in
small bottles is smaller than that in regular size bottles, which
cause added difficulties and expense: the bottles themselves are
harder to source, and require either a separate bottling line or
retooling the bottling line between runs. As a result, US craft
breweries only rarely bottle in small bottles; temporary examples
include Flying Dog
Brewery (2007–2009) and Rogue Ales
(2009–2011, using extra bottles from Flying Dog).
The Big Stubby at Larrimah
A Darwin Stubby refers to several large beer bottle sizes in
Australia. It was first introduced in April 1958 with an
80-imperial-fluid-ounce (2,270 ml;
76.9 U.S. fl oz) capacity. The 2-liter
(70.4 imp fl oz; 67.6 U.S. fl oz) Darwin
Stubby is available by
NT Draught in the Northern Territory. The
2.25-liter (76.1 U.S. fl oz;
79.2 imp fl oz) Darwin Stubby has an iconic, if
kitsch status in Australian folklore.
"Caguama" and "Ballena" bottles
In Mexico, caguama and ballena are popular names for a 940 ml
(33.1 imp fl oz; 31.8 U.S. fl oz) beer
bottle. The Mexican beer brands which are sold in these bottles
include Tecate, Carta Blanca, Sol, Indio, Victoria, Corona Familiar
and Pacífico. The name "caguama" refers to the Loggerhead sea turtle,
which is called "caguama" in Spanish. There are larger sizes of
beer bottle called a super caguama or a caguamon. The ballena is
Spanish for whale.
Cone-shaped bottle of an Estonian beer
Darwin Stubbies in several variations
Half gallon growler
Bottled beer is sold with several types of bottle cap, but most often
with crown caps, also known as crown seals. Some beers (for example
Grolsch) are sold in "beugel" style bottles, known as "flip-top" or
"swing top" in some English speaking countries. A number of beers are
sold finished with a cork and muselet (or cage), similar to champagne
closures. These closures were largely superseded by the crown cap at
the end of the 19th century, but survive in premium markets. Many
larger beers, including most forties and some growlers, use screw caps
due to their resealing design.
Crown cap, unopened
Video of homebrewers bottling beer using crown caps
Twist off beer bottle cap, unopened
Swing top beer bottle closure, unopened
Cork and muselet closure, unopened
Some beers undergo a fermentation in the bottle, giving natural
carbonation. These beers are usually referred to as bottle
conditioned. They are bottled with a viable yeast population in
suspension and to start what may be a second or third fermentation. If
there is no residual fermentable sugar left, sugar and or wort may be
added in a process known as priming. The resulting fermentation
generates CO2 that is trapped in the bottle, remaining in solution and
providing natural carbonation.
Bottle conditioned beers may be either
filled unfiltered direct from the fermentation or conditioning tank,
or filtered and then reseeded with yeast.
Use as weapons
See also: Glassing
Beer bottles are sometimes used as makeshift clubs, for instance in
bar fights. As with glass pint glasses, the use of glass bottles as
weapons is known as glassing. Pathologists determined in 2009 that
beer bottles are strong enough to crack human skulls, which requires
an impact energy of between 14 and 70 joules, depending on the
location. Empty beer bottles shatter at 40 joules, while full bottles
shatter at only 30 joules because of the pressure of the carbonated
beer inside the bottle. A test performed by the television show
MythBusters suggested that full bottles are significantly more
dangerous than empty bottles. They concluded that full bottles inflict
more damage in terms of concussion and skull fracture. However, they
found that both full and empty bottles do the same amount of scalp
As with pint glasses, the main solution to glassing with bottles is
not to dispense glass bottles where there is risk of fights or
accidents, most simply either using plastic glasses or plastic bottles
(or aluminum cans).
Lightstruck, or "skunked" or "skunky", beer has been exposed to
ultraviolet and visible light. The light causes riboflavin to react
with and break down isohumulones, a molecule that contributes to the
bitterness of the beer and is derived from the hops. A molecule
resulting from a subsequent chain of reactions,
3-methylbut-2-ene-1-thiol, is very similar chemically and in odour to
the musk-borne mercaptans that are a skunk's natural defences.
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". A dark brown glass bottle gives some protection to the
beer, but green and clear glass bottles offer virtually no protection
There are also other solutions available to prevent beer bottled in
clear and green glass from becoming skunked or light-struck, such as
taller walls on 6-pack carriers, which is common with craft beers and
highlighted in Samuel Adams marketing.
Beer in Australia
Glass container industry
^ Eie, Thomas (2009), "Light Protection from Packaging", in Yam, K.
L., Encyclopedia of Packaging Technology, Wiley,
^ Brody, A. L., & Marsh, K, S., Encyclopedia of Packaging
Technology, John Wiley & Sons, 1997, ISBN 0-471-06397-5
^ "How to Buy A Bottling Line". Kinnek.com. Retrieved
^ a b Voß, Heinrich (February 2012). "Trendig und kompakt: Biere in
der Steinie-Flasche" (PDF). Getränkefachgroßhandel (in German).
Verlag W. Sachon. Retrieved 2016-10-30.
^ "Switchback Brewing Co.- Unfiltered Beers Handcrafted in Burlington,
Vermont - Switchback Brewing Co". switchbackvt.com.
^ De standaard bruine bierfles – Bruin Nederlands Retour (BNR) fles,
Nederlandse Brouwers (viewed 2 December 2017)
^ a b Gassmann, Michael (2014-04-09). "Der Wahnsinn, wenn Sie in
München Flens trinken". Die Welt. Retrieved 2016-10-30.
Deutsche Umwelthilfe (n.d.). "Stellungnahme der "Mehrweg-Allianz"
zur Studie "Umlaufzahlen und Transportentfernungen in der
Getränkeindustrie" der Bundesvereinigung der Deutschen
Ernährungsindustrie e.V. (BVE) und des Handelsverbands Deutschland
e.V. (HDE)" (PDF). duh.de. Retrieved 2016-10-30.
^ "Breaking Out the Forty". www.beeradvocate.com. March 21, 2001.
Archived from the original on August 22, 2013. Retrieved December 16,
^ a b Yaeger, Brian (20 June 2011). "Nips Pt. 1: Everybody Wants
Some". All About
Beer Magazine. Archived from the original on 17
September 2013. Retrieved 27 September 2013.
^ Americanisms, Farmer, p. 430 cites New York Journal, 1885 August;
see pony for details.
^ Notes and Queries, August 8, 1896, p. 126: "It seems probable the
origin is due to the diminutiveness of the glass;"
^ Advertising and the Food System, p. 309
^ CSA Super Markets, Volume 50, 1974, p. 68
^ The Pittsburgh Press, October 21, 1952, p. 4
^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2012-04-26. Retrieved
Beer Advice". Archived from the original on 2011-11-11.
^ "Victoria Bitter Twist Tops 250mL". danmurphys.com.au. Retrieved 14
^ Greg Kitsock, American Brewer 2011, Editorial (p. 3)
^ Greg Kitsock, Washington Post, "The trouble with keeping the ponies
in line", 09/12/2011
^ "Rogue to Downsize XS Series Bottles". Seattle
Beer News. 8 December
2009. Retrieved 8 May 2013.
^ "Toasting the Darwin Stubby". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved
^ "The Darwin Stubby turns 50" Archived 2011-09-28 at the Wayback
Machine., IAN MORGAN, 05 Jun, 2008, North Queensland Register
^ "Toasting the Darwin Stubby", Greg McLean, May 15, 2008, The Daily
^ es:Caretta caretta
^ Christopher M. Boulton (20 May 2013). Encyclopaedia of Brewing.
Wiley. p. 79. Retrieved 14 June 2013.
^ Christopher M. Boulton (20 May 2013). Encyclopaedia of Brewing.
Wiley. p. 80. Retrieved 14 June 2013.
Bottles Make Better Weapons". The New York Times
Magazine. December 10, 2009. Archived from the original on 12 December
2009. Retrieved 10 December 2009.
^ Huvaere, Kevin; Olsen, Karsten; Andersen, Mogens L.; Skibsted, Leif
H.; Heyerick, Arne; Keukeleire, Denis De (29 March 2004).
"Riboflavin-sensitized photooxidation of isohumulones and
derivatives". Photochemical & Photobiological Sciences. 3 (4).
^ Beer: quality, safety and ... - Google Books. books.google.com.
ISBN 978-0-85404-588-4. Retrieved 2009-10-17.
Colin S. Burns, Arne Heyeric, 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"
Wikimedia Commons has media related to
Article on stubbies which mentions the newer longnecks.
Glass Manufacturer's marks & logos seen on containers and other
glassware, both antique & modern (including beer, soda, &
other bottles --Primarily American)
Disposable food packaging
Modified atmosphere/modified humidity packaging
Bags and flexible containers
Corrugated box design
Flexible intermediate bulk container
Foam food container
Insulated shipping container
Intermediate bulk container
Self-heating food packaging
Linear low-density polyethylene
Liquid packaging board
Screw cap (wine)
Shock and vibration data logger
Temperature data logger
Time temperature indicator
Automatic identification and data capture
Blow fill seal
Die forming (plastics)
Electronic article surveillance
Track and trace
Verification and validation
Extended core stretch wrapper
Injection molding machine
Label printer applicator
Lineshaft roller conveyor
Material handling equipment
Mechanical brake stretch wrapper
Orbital stretch wrapper
Rotary wheel blow molding systems
Turntable stretch wrapper
Vertical form fill sealing machine