I've gotten pretty fed up dealing with using old decaying boxes as bottle crates, so I took some measurements off an old Coca-cola crate I have and made my own simple crate. It isn't fancy at all, but it gets the job done and best of all was cheap.
$10 worth of materials (with some left over) and maybe an hour to build. it would take much less time if you didn't have to stop and fiddle with various bits to see how you want it to go together. If you had a power miter saw and a drill press you'd be even better off.
I think I'm going to replace all my boxes with these. I plan whip some out without the twine, cardboard, and most slats in them (the box part is quick, the twine and cardboard dividers took the majority of the time) to let me stack the crates easily.
Ends: 10-7/8" 1x6 with 1/4" holes drilled 1-1/2" from top and bottom at 2-5/8"; 5-3/8"; and 8-1/8".
Sides: 18-1/4" 1x6 with 1/4" holes drilled 1-1/2" from top and bottom at 3-3/8"; 6-1/4"; 9-1/8"; 12"; and 14-3/4".
Bottom slats: 12 1/2" 1x3.
Assemble sides and ends together. I used 1-1/2" ring shank nails, with pilot holes and simple butt joints. Using glue and screws would be even more durable (or even a a box joint) but this was just a prototype and seems plenty sturdy even fully loaded up with tasty beverage.
Mark on the bottom of the side pieces at the same points as where you drilled the holes. Attach the bottom slats on leaving gaps where you marked. Again I used butt joints and a pair of ring shank nails to attach them.
Take some twine and run it through the holes. I went across short side first and then came back along the long way, weaving it in. This took me the most time because I was trying to figure out what pattern to use. I used a twist tie sort of like a needle to feed the twine though. Once everything was in place and tightened up I made a loop in the twine and nailed it to the side.
Get some thin corrugated paperboard and cut slits in it to accommodate the twine. I placed it so it would go down through the twine (alternating sides as it goes down) and rest in the spaces between the bottom slats. This stiffens up the whole thing so the bottles don't move. You could use wire instead of twine and it would likely work better, but twine is cheap.
Neat way to make the little bottle compartments. Plan on making the final version stackable?
Simple, I'm going to make doubles of the crates, probably without the cardboard and only the top layer of the twine. Flip it over and place it over the crate with the bottles in it and you can stack another crate on top. Also when you carry a crate to a party you have a spot for people to put their empties.
As for apple boxes, the farmer's markets and supermarkets around here tend to be pretty darn protective of their boxes and such.