While most adult people love beer, besides beer experts, only a few consumers actually know why their favorite beverage is bottled in brown or green bottles. Well, as it turns out, this choice is not made just for aesthetic reasons; it does serve one very important purpose.
To better understand why brewers are using brown or green bottles we need to talk a bit about the history of brewing.
Here’s how it goes: (the article continues after the ad)
Beer production started thousands of years ago in ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia. However, due to the lack of pasteurization and refrigeration, beer didn’t last long therefore, it had to be consumed relatively soon. That changed during the 17th century, when brewers started experimenting with glass bottles in order to preserve their beer longer for commercial purposes.
Why brown bottles?
Glass bottles did keep the beer fresher, longer but they had one major issue: if they were left in the sun for too long, the beer started smelling like skunky. That is because the clear glass allowed UV rays to penetrate the beer and alter the flavor. By the way, skunky is not used as an expression here – scientists at the University of North Carolina and Ghent University in Belgium, found that the reaction forms a chemical similar to the one produced by skunks when spraying their predators.
The solution was to use dark brown bottles in order to screen the UV rays and protect the beer from going bad. Pretty much just like sunglasses work.
What about green bottles?
The green bottles came into play in the 1940s. After WWII, there was a shortage of brown glass which forced many European brewers to choose alternative glasses. Since they didn’t want to use clear glass as it made their product look cheap, they turned to the green glass mainly because it was available at the time (many pharmaceutical products at the time came into green glass bottles). Green bottle became sort of like a “trademark” for European beers so many breweries started using them and that’s why many European beers now come in green bottles.
Of course, nowadays, protected coats can be applied to any type of glass (that’s why many beers have clear glass) and we don’t need dark glasses to protect our beer from the sun but brewers keep the brown and green bottles as they have become a branding feature of their product.