The weird reason beer bottles have always been green and brown – and never clear

PTI, 18-03-2017 11:51:30

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The weird reason beer bottles have always been green and brown – and never clear

The alcoholic beverage pumped from British pub taps has been around for a long time. The first brewed is thought to have been the work of the ancient Egyptians thousands of years ago.

But it was only in the 19th century that beer was first bottled up – and sold commerically.

Brewers realised that glass would keep their tipples fresh, preserving the beer for their customers’ satisfaction.

But, as the industry got underway, beer was first stored in clear glass. This seemed to work for a while. It would be a solution in winter, perhaps. But if left in the sun, bad things started to happen to the liquid.

Beer left in transparent bottles would start to smell "skuny", reports said. Yes, like a skunk. Not a nice fragrance for an after work drink.

The foul odour came about because the clear glass allowed UV rays to penetrate the drink and alter the flavour.

The answer? Green or brown bottles. A darker colour blocks out the damaging UV rays. It provides more protection and the beer remains skunk smell-free.

You might be wondering why beer bottles are far more often seen to be green than brown? That’s because there was a shortage of brown glass after World War II.

Since then, green has sort of stuck as the traditional beer bottle colour, though you do see brown occasionaly.

These days, brewers can apply UV protected coats to glass to preserve the taste. But they probably keep the old colourful bottles anyway.

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