Bottles, Cans and Growlers! Oh My!

When it comes to beer, I’ll take it any way that you want to give it to me. Bottled, canned, draft – I love it all!

However, I’ve always been an advertising enthusiast and packaging tends to intrigue me. Often times I’ll stand at the grocery store and come to terms with the fact that the bottle of syrup I’ve just put in my cart is priced $1 higher than the boring looking bottle that was next to it on the shelf, not because the syrup inside tastes any better but simply because the packaging is more elaborate. I understand it, I embrace it and I gladly fork over another dollar for my maple leaf shaped bottle.

So, I’ve been wondering if are there really any high-level differences (besides the obvious factors of style and stereotypes, of course) when it comes to the containers in which beer is shipped and sold.

Beer Packaging - Bottles, Cans and GrowlersHere are some key points of interest:

Glass Bottles

Most beer bottles are amber or green colored because the full spectrum of daylight can have unfavorable effects on beer, over a period of time. Ultraviolet rays are especially harmful, as they promote chemical reactions that produce “off flavors” and take away from the freshness of a beer. Dark glass hinders this photochemical effect, whereas clear glass gives the light full access to the beer. Most bottles today are dark green or amber, including those in the Mr. Beer Bottling System that we sell. For reasons unknown, a limited number of breweries (particularly British ones) are braving the light and have decided to stick with their traditional practice of using clear glass bottles.

Aluminum Cans

Aluminum cans are typically associated with the more “economical” end of the beer market, popular for supermarkets and bulk casing. Although cans do not fit the image of the more premium craft-brewed products, there is no real reason that high-quality beer cannot be sold in cans. Some craft brewers are beginning to launch canned products, however using cans instead of bottles is actually more expensive for smaller brewers, due to the high costs of the pasteurization and packing equipment required for canned beer.


A growler is a plastic or glass container used for selling fresh draft beer, straight from the tap. Growlers are fantastic when you plan to drink your beer shortly after purchasing it. When you buy beer in a growler, generally from a brewery, it must stay refrigerated and be consumed within a couple of days.


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