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Old 08-17-2008, 06:56 PM   #1
Matt Up North
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Default Closure Debate and Choice

I have an ongoing debate going on with some friends and we are trying to find out what other people think.

This goes all the way from beer, wine, and spirits and beyond into food products. The question is this:

When you use a closure are you thinking more about the quality of the product inside the bottle or the quality of the look on the outside?

In other words, do you care that your beer/wine will last longer with fewer problems, or do you want people to be amazed at the look of your product?

If you had all the money in the world what would you use to age your beer for a long time? Screwtops, Crown Caps, Corks, Synthetics, Canned?

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Old 08-17-2008, 07:31 PM   #2
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It really really depends. Assuming all things were "optimal" I'd actually can my own beer. No need to worry about light damage, bottle breakage and they cool well.

That said, canning is cost/space/time/effort prohibitive. I've gone the kegging route and didn't like it and returned to bottles. I've actually been picking up bottles based on appearance, though they're all standard (i.e. not screw off). I have been more and more concerned, however, with the upcoming christmas season and I plan on giving out beer baskets as presentsso appearance has mattered to me when it normally doesn't.

Bottling with standard crowns is my best, overall process. Flip tops are a bit more enjoyable to use but I'd be paranoid that I'd never get them back if I gave them as gifts.

Done right, there's not really a "wrong" way to bottle as long as it's actually contained and not exposed to the conditions that will ruin beer. Be aware of what your desired method does (the cobalt blue flip tops are vulnerable to light damage, twist off bottles require a bench capper, et ceteral) to your overall product and account for that and you'll be fine whatever method you use.

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Old 08-17-2008, 07:32 PM   #3
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I really don't care what it looks like, as long as it is GOOD! If I had the money I would use only flip-top (Grolsch style) bottles. I do make sure to bottle up 8 plain 12oz bottles for club or other competitions.

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Old 08-17-2008, 09:33 PM   #4
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Quote:
It really really depends. Assuming all things were "optimal" I'd actually can my own beer. No need to worry about light damage, bottle breakage and they cool well.
That is the answer that I was looking for! Which means that to you it is about quality inside first (nothing against canning, I think it is the way to go) more than appearance.

This is a huge talk amongst winemakers and I know that brewers care as well, though are more apt to think outside the box...where winemakers seem to think that a thousand years of one package is the best and only way.

For me I would use aluminum bottles with a crown cap if I had my way.
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Old 08-17-2008, 10:10 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Matt Up North
Which means that to you it is about quality inside first (nothing against canning, I think it is the way to go) more than appearance.
I don't know, really. When I see someone write "care more about appearance" I assume you're making comparisons of things like uniformity (do you care if your single batch is in 13 different size/style bottles) and branding more than container itself.

The reason I point that out is that I don't think either bottles or cans are particularly "attractive" and I don't think bottles look "nicer". In fact, as a geek/programmer who considers "efficient" a very real selling point, I like the fact that a standard pack of cans wastes less space than a standard 6/12/24 pack.

There's unfortunately a stigma around cans, even though it is becoming more popular to can micro/craft brews for the various reasons. That stigma may be tradition, or (like the "turning off your car rather than idling wastes gas" thing) "wisdom" handed down from an age when there actually WAS a reason for it that has since been obsoleted but I highly doubt someone said "I'm not canning because it's ugly".

Kegs could be considered really big cans and kegging is quite popular here.
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Old 08-17-2008, 10:19 PM   #6
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The product itself is a million times more important to me than it's packaging. However, I don't think that's true for the mojority of people (at least in this country) who are easily swept up in the latest fad, largly caused by effective marketing. That said, if you want to compete commercially in this country you have to at least acknowlege, if not conform to, our romance with the flashy image.


I have to disagree on th cans though. When I drink out of alluminum, I can taste the metal, even if it is only because my mouth contacts the metal. I don't taste anything but beer when I drink out of glass.

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Old 08-17-2008, 10:41 PM   #7
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Quality first, for looks and shipping I have several cases of aluminum bottles that I use. Just sandblasted the Mtn dew paint off and send brushed aluminum bottles.

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Old 08-17-2008, 11:24 PM   #8
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I am the guy that drinks my own beer...mostly ALL of it. I do share a few wine bottles, and The only aesthetic measure I give them are labels.

I'd say Quality is #1. with the presentation being a very distant Second.

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Old 08-17-2008, 11:35 PM   #9
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Commercially marketable to earn market share aside...I am making my beer to drink and for my friends to drink. I care first about what is inside the bottle. In fact I have no labels and will not be using labels until I have a very large excess.

In terms though of the fact that beer can get skunked so easily, light damage, oxidation and various other things, why is it that there isn't more care about the package that it goes into? Kegging is a process, as is bottling and so either one you really have to make the time for. With canning or kegging you are limiting the variables that can affect my beer. I wish that aluminum bottles were available more freely...

I think that I will follow suit with the Mountain Dew Bottles and if there are any with a crown cap, I will find them too.

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Old 08-17-2008, 11:52 PM   #10
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I guess it would depend on what I was doing. Brewing beer for my own consumption = minimal effort, no labels, bottles w/ standard gold caps and a letter written on top so I can identify the beer. Even if money was not a problem, I hate cleaning labels off bottles and wouldn't do it.

When I give some to friends as a gift or whatever, I usually whip up some professional looking labels and am super anal about uniformity and it looking nice. That is what they'll see when I hand it to them, so I want it to look good and have the quality of the brew surpass every expectation they might have based on the outward appearance.

If I were a microbrewery, I would accept the fact that with some folks the only chance I have to get my product into their fridge is the appearance of the "package." Again, I would want it to look good and the let the beer surpass their expectations. It would be easy for me to take a purist approach, but in the end it would be about dollars and cents and I see the two as important in their own right.

In any event, it is bottles all the way with crown caps (I don't know why, I just like crown over screw caps). I just think amber bottles have a "cool" factor that cans cannot match

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Last edited by Beards Brews; 08-17-2008 at 11:58 PM.
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