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Old 11-30-2011, 03:28 PM   #1
Nov 2011
houston, texas
Posts: 151
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Anyone have any tips for picking up bottles or bottle boxes for free?

I am particularly interested in some of those real sturdy cardboard bottle boxes. I have only seen these at bars, but I am not sure if bars will give those away. Those boxes are sweet.

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Old 11-30-2011, 03:31 PM   #2
EdWort's Avatar
Jul 2006
Bee Cave, Texas
Posts: 11,912
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Personally, I recommend buying Sierra Nevada beers by the case or 12 pack. Drink the beer and you have bottles & a box for free. The labels are easy to remove with soaking and the size fits in the fridge where long necks won't.

On the plus side, the bottles are designed for bottle conditioning as Sierra Nevada bottle conditions their beer.

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Old 11-30-2011, 03:33 PM   #3
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Dec 2007
"Detroitish" Michigan
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Beer/Liquor stores for good bottle boxes, just ask for them. If it's a store you frequent and they know you, tell them you're a hopmebrewer, bring them some beer on occasion, and they'll let you go into the back room and grab what you want. If you live in a retunable state, they may even let you pick through their bottles as well.

Heck, as I've posted in here, one of the stores I used to frequent before I moved this summer, I would walk in sometimes, and they'd say, "Hey beer x just came in, we were thinking about cracking one, wanna try it?"

It seems at first that accumulating bottles is difficult but if you mention around to people that you brew and need crown bottles they will start showing up. There's also craigslist, and, hooking up with other homebrewers, recycling centers. Asking at beerstores that have a good selection of beer for their returnables. Some stores will let you have their empties for the price of the deposit. And some bars will give you all you can haul out if you ask.

Also if you want to bottle in champagne bottles, go to a hall that does weddings, heck even a moose or vfw hall, you might just have to dumpster dive at worst, or just pick cases of empty asti bottles by the back door.

It seems daunting but you'll get plenty really fast. But in reality when you annouce you are homerbewing, they do come flying at you. I even had my building super years ago just use his key and leave me some on the dinning room table. He knew he'd get beer from me on a regular basis, especially if he was gonna do some work in my place.
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Old 11-30-2011, 04:12 PM   #4
Sep 2010
Posts: 1,689
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Last time I went into a bottle shop, they owner had probably 50+ boxes broken down and ready for recycling...I took about 10 off his hands, dabbed some glue in the corners and then a strip of Gorilla Tape on the bottom.

For bottles, just ask friends and family to save for you.

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Old 11-30-2011, 04:33 PM   #5
Mar 2010
Louisville, Kentucky
Posts: 224
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I occasionally dumpster dive at a local bar that has 1,000+ imported beers.

I now have quite the collection of unique belgium flip-tops, trippel bottles, German 500ml bottles and many other interesting shaped and sized bottles. I take them home and wash off the exterior with hose (trash cans can be very nasty), soak them to remove labels, rinse the inside, the santize and finally re-bottle.

Usually there are some good beer boxes laying around too.
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Old 11-30-2011, 05:46 PM   #6
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Aug 2011
Surprise Valley, PA
Posts: 371
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All i need to do is ask co-workers to save their bottles. I have a case of empties by week end.

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Old 11-30-2011, 06:03 PM   #7
Jul 2011
Ramsey & Akeley, Mn
Posts: 2,975
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But isn't the best part of accumulating bottles DRINKING the beer out of them? I had a lot of fun last winter/spring.

More seriously, I know a couple of people who work at liquor stores or bars. My neighbor is one. Free and easy.
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Old 11-30-2011, 06:05 PM   #8
Dec 2010
Bloomington In., Indiana
Posts: 538
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Originally Posted by EdWort View Post
Personally, I recommend buying Sierra Nevada beers by the case or 12 pack. Drink the beer and you have bottles & a box for free. The labels are easy to remove with soaking and the size fits in the fridge where long necks won't.

On the plus side, the bottles are designed for bottle conditioning as Sierra Nevada bottle conditions their beer.
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Old 11-30-2011, 09:09 PM   #9
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Feb 2011
Sheffield, Ohio
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I have mostly sturdy 12pack boxes from us & My son. The leinenkugel's boxes are the only ones so far with separators,though. & they have tabs to keep them closed,too. So far,I have bottles from the US,Germany,Japan,& Scotland.
Boxes from Labatt's limited editions,Leinenkugel's,Magic Hat,Dundee's,& Great Lakes. Being cardboard rather than pasteboard makes them more stackable & long lasting.
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Old 11-30-2011, 09:21 PM   #10
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Feb 2011
Taylorsville, Utah
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The bar at the bowling alley where my league is always has them just waiting to be taken... 2 weeks ago I walked out with 2 cases of reusable bottles. the cleaning is the worst part about bar bottles though..
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