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Craft beer bottle sizes

On of my favorite beer blogs to read for interesting insights, The Mad Fermentationist, recently posted a pretty good rant about craft beer bottle sizes. You can read the full rant here, but a snapshot of the rant reveals two things:

  1. Why do craft breweries insist on putting big beers in large bottles?
  2. Why do large bottle cost more per oz than a smaller bottle? Shouldn’t be less?

I think The Mad Fermentationist did a great job at looking at the second point closely, but the first point really irks me with craft beer. It annoys me greatly that a lot of the wonderful big beers that can be had only come in 22 oz or 750 ml bottles. I don’t understand the idea of making big bottles of big beer. Shouldn’t higher ABV’s push the size of the bottle down not up?

I find it irresponsible to a point to put the high alcohol beers in larger volume containers. Beer isn’t like wine, it can’t stay fresh once opened. When you commit to opening a big bottle, you commit to drinking the whole thing. I’m not generally one who has a bunch of people over to share bottles with, when I drink, I do it at home with my wife and my dog. My wife isn’t a huge fan of big beers so it usually is up to me to knock out the large majority of a bottle of beer. There are times when a giant bottle of beer is just too much, but I can’t justify pouring some out or letting it go flat. I paid for the beer, I’m going to drink it.

Judging by the responses to the original post, I’m not alone in my thoughts. In some cases, I would actually be happy getting a 7 oz “pony” of a big beer than even a 12 oz bottle. In the homebrew world, big beers equal more production costs. I would be fine with paying 12 oz bottle prices for a 7 oz bottle of big beer. I doubt this would ever happen (with the exception of Rogue Ales who does a number of beers in 7 oz bottles) but I would love to see this come about.

While I know I’m not alone in my thoughts, am I being too picky or do I (we) have a legitimate grip here?

Interesting beer bottles

Whenever I got to the beer store I generally have an idea of what I am looking for. Be it a particular style, beer, or brewery, I usually know what I am going to get. The thing is, once I actually get to the store, it is anyone’s guess as to what I actually come out with. I am sure I am an advertisers dream because I get caught up in things that catch my eye. The other problem I have is that I might know exactly what I want, but that doesn’t stop me from taking a look around to get some ideas for next time.

One of the biggest things that can throw me off of a game plan is an interesting looking bottle. If there is a bottle in the display case that is different than your typical 12 or 22 oz bottle, chances are I am going to take a second look at it. If I know my brain properly, the reason behind this is two fold; if the bottle is special the beer must be as well and “that’s different, I like it, I have to own it.” There are plenty of great looking bottles out there from craft brewers and imports alike.

My first taste of Anchor Steam came becasue I thought the bottles were interesting looking. The same goes with Duvel and dozens of other beers. If a brewery has a unique bottle, chances are I will pick it up. I also tend to hold onto the interesting bottles. My partner in brewing crime, Pete, had a nice collection of bottles when we were in college. We kept one bottle of every kind of beer that we drank. The most prized bottles in the collection were those that were unique. I never had a big collection of bottles, I mainly just contributed to Pete’s but I do have a small collection of special bottles. Right now my favorite is the ceramic bottle that I have from Rogue Ales. I’ve never seen a ceramic beer bottle other than those from Rogue. Anyone else out there a sucker from something that looks special?

Beer bottle chandelier

A Texas company has come up with a neat idea for old beer bottles, make a chandelier out of them. I wonder if you can customize the bottles in the chandelier or if they just go with the generic stuff. Either way it would be a nice addition to a bar or man cave. You can find more pictures here.