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Beer in Green Bottles

Views: 50     Author: Site Editor     Publish Time: 2023-02-24      Origin: Site

The History of the Glass Beer Bottle

The history of beer goes back to the early civilizations of Egypt and Mesopotamia before pasteurization and sterilization techniques were commonplace. The beer had to be drunk as soon it was finished, often from the same vessel in which it was brewed.

Storing and shipping beer in glass bottles became more popular around the 19th century when brewers became convinced that it was the best way of keeping the beer fresher for longer. For whatever reason, glass bottles became famous for storing beer; the original glass bottles always had a green hue. Less advanced glass production techniques failed to remove the impurities like ferrous irons, which gave the glass a green tint, similar to that seen on vintage Coca-Cola bottles.

The Problem With Clear Glass Bottles

In the mid-19th century, clear glass became more available but was often seen as too expensive to be wasted on beer consumers. Beer producers also quickly learned that beer didn’t stay as fresh in clear bottles as UV rays from the sun, a natural enemy of beer, would affect the beer quality.

In a phenomenon known as “lightstruck” beer, the acids in beer react, particularly the alpha-acids in hops, with the sunlight, which triggers a chemical reaction and causes a “skunk” like smell. Any beers which use significant amounts of hops, especially those European pilsner lagers, will be subject to skunking. However, modern brewers have now developed light stable hops to prevent chemical reactions from exposure to solar radiation.

Brown Bottles and the Return of Green Bottles

In the 1930s, beer producers found that utilizing brown glass bottles would help shield the beer from those harmful UV rays, in the same way that sunglasses protect our eyes. Brown glass is still used today by many famous beer producers, including many domestic beer brands like Budweiser, Coors, and much of the craft beer scene.

However, there was a period during WWII when beer companies could not obtain enough brown glass to manufacture their beer bottles, and they had to revert to bottles made of green glass. Although green bottles won’t protect as well from the sunlight, they certainly do a better job than clear bottles in keeping beer fresh.

Rather than sticking their higher-quality beers back into those poor-performing clear bottles, beer companies swapped out those brown bottles for green glass bottles. As a result, green glass bottles of beer were seen by beer consumers to represent a quality premium beer. Although there is no need for the producers to use green bottles anymore, for some of the more famous beer brands, the color has become so associated with their identity that it’s hard for them to switch back.

As for clear glass bottles, modern techniques now allow beer producers to apply UV protective coats to the glass which keeps the beer fresher. However, knowing sunlight is a natural enemy of beer, it is always advisable to store your beer in a darker beer container to avoid the skunking effect, whether in a green, brown, or clear glass bottle.


Does Beer in a Green Glass Bottle Taste Different?

All beers taste different, of course — that’s what makes the beer scene so interesting. But the color of the glass the beer comes in doesn’t directly impact the taste. Put a premium beer into a clear or green bottle, and it will taste the same. The only thing that may affect the beer’s flavor over time is exposure to sunlight which darker bottles can help prevent.

Although green bottles won’t be as effective at protecting from UV rays as brown ones, they will undoubtedly provide more shielding than a clear bottle. However, modern brewing and packaging techniques mean the color of the glass isn’t as important as it once was. UV coatings and non-light reactive hops mean beer stays fresher for longer and avoids that skunk “lightstruck” beer taste.

Green bottles still seem to signify a higher quality beer, but this is more down to the branding — perception rather than the flavor. To make sure your beer stays fresh longer, you can always store your beer stash in a darker place to reduce the effect of light.


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