When a guy buys a new car where does he keep it when he’s not driving it? In the garage of course. A shinny new car is worth hiding – thieves are everywhere and the suns damaging rays should be kept to a minimum.
In Canada, you’ll notice that most of the major breweries, and a good portion of the microbreweries, use the standard North American longneck beer bottle. The reasons for the widespread use of this bottle are predominantly cost related, because, what most people don’t realize, is that these bottle are reused up to 20 times! It’s weird when you consider the bottles you often drink from may have previously visited twenty other parties via twenty other people before you. When I think of some of the parties I’ve been to, this fact creeps me out. Still, this is a great example of the second R in action; environmentalists should drink more beer.
I visited Fort Garry Brewing in Winnipeg on a school trip during university. While I don’t recommend visiting Winnipeg in January, it was a pretty cool brewery tour. It was there that I got wise to beer bottle reusability. Fort Garry would get a dump of bottles from the depot, filter out the usable ones (Corona, Heineken, Sleeman, and other distinctive bottles), wash them, and put them right back into production. The whole process of purchase, consume, return, wash, refill, redistribute could take as little as a week to repeat itself. To discern the age of your bottle, take a look at the widest parts of the bottle just below the neck and above the base. You’ll see two lines where the bottles come in contact with the production line rollers. The more worn the lines on the bottle, the older the bottle is.
Another common perception among beer drinkers is that bottles are superior to cans. I do find that I enjoy drinking beer out of a bottle more than out of a can, but this has only to do with feel. I’ve heard complaints of beer tasting metallic when consumed out of a can, but pouring into a glass easily solves this problem. Cans are actually a better storage vessel for beer because they let no light through, plus they weigh less and are cheaper to ship. Exposure to light can greatly affect beer quality, which is why a darker bottle makes a better brewing vessel than a light bottle. Erik wrote a great post on the affect that light has on beer, because really, who wants a clear bottle anyway?