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View Full Version : Why are "longneck" beer bottles made/marketed?


glilly
04-15-2003, 08:15 PM
In the US, certain bottled beers are packaged in (at least) two differently shaped bottles, one with a "neck" that rises about 2 1/2 inches above the liquid, the others that have a longer neck, called "longnecks".

The questions:

1) Why are both types made?
2) Why are longnecks advertised?

Q1 probably has something to do with the longnecks being reusable and distributed to places where they are likely to be picked up (bars) and the short necked bottles being sold to consumers who will throw them away.

Q2 pertains to bars who advertise, for example, "$0.75 Bud longnecks!" Why do I care if it is a longneck? Does anybody care?

Guy Propski
04-15-2003, 09:15 PM
Longnecks are to beer bottles as unfiltered Camels are to other cigarettes--they carry the aura of 50's style coolness. You go into a redneck bar, and you'll see the tough cowboy holding his Lone Star by the neck, unfiltered Camel hanging from his lip.

Of course, it's more economical to make shortnecks, so that's why they make both.....

herman_and_bill
04-15-2003, 09:27 PM
I like em.
Also try to carry 4 short necks in one hand

Jayrot
04-15-2003, 09:31 PM
Dunno if this is true, or an UL. It will probably require some major experimentation on my part:

I've heard that the purpose of the longneck is that if you hold the beer by the neck, it will stay colder longer than if you held it around the middle -- somehow by way of the lack of contact of your warm hand and the liquid against glass.

Let me see if there is any data in the fridge.......

Tripler
04-15-2003, 10:29 PM
Originally posted by Jayrot
I've heard that the purpose of the longneck is that if you hold the beer by the neck, it will stay colder longer than if you held it around the middle -- somehow by way of the lack of contact of your warm hand and the liquid against glass.

I'll second this by a science I call "Robenomics" (to be explained later).

With a longneck, you have more surface area of glass against ice with which to cool beer. True, your aluminum can may conduct heat better, but it's only so thick with so much beer in the middle. Your glass will conduct heat away from the beer somwhat slower, but there's more glass than can, so your beer will get colder quicker.

That's the way it works, according to Robenomics: Science of Economics and Practical Science according to Rob (me).

Tripler
Robenomics hasn't failed me yet.

Zenster
04-15-2003, 11:37 PM
Along with the eminently acceptable "gets warm slowly" theory, I'd add that long neck bottles have been around longer. In glassblowing, all bottles have been made by hand throughout history, save for the last few centuries), it is far easier to 'draw' out a flask's neck to considerable length (i.e., long neck) than precisely form a shaped termination so close to the bottle's main cavity. In addition, flame polishing a small outlet so near the flask's bulk increased chances of stress fracturing the main body due to temperature inequalities.

Long necks allowed more than one chance at forming a lip or crowning flange on the neck. A chipped longneck could be reworked many times after its original manufacture. As in all flasks, the neck itself serves a vital function. Historically, a glass bottle was incredibly expensive to fabricate. Glassblowing was an energy intensive manufacturing process. The inert nature of glass made it ideal to store chemically reactive fluids (i.e., wine or oil) as the contents remained free of imparted taste. The cost of glass containers was such that they were reserved for equally (or more) costly contents.

An extended neck has a much lower 'conductance' value than (by way of contrast) an open beaker. The outflow rate from a long tube is greatly reduced by such constriction. This was a highly desirable function as it reduced chances of spilling an entire tipped-over bottle before one might right it again. The same applies to precious fluids like perfumes and apothecary storage as well. Shortneck bottles probably evolved parallel with bulk manufacturing, where less glass used per bottle meant lower cost of goods produced. They are also most likely a byproduct of profit sensitivity to the increased shipping and storage volume longneck bottles require.

Humans are most used to drinking from long neck flasks. Their use has a resonance that is older than most utensils save for the edged blade and fire itself. The shortneck was brought into a world where drinking glasses no longer cost the same as China and silver. As with the storage volume sensitivity mentioned above, the shift in temperature preference for beer consumption has also driven this a bit. Until lately, refrigeration represented an enormous expense, be it via ice or gas cycling. Glass was wonderful because, once chilled, its insulating properties kept the contents cold for longer than other materials. The smaller shortneck glass bottles permitted higher packing density in mechanically refrigerated compartments. This may also have driven their popularity.

meyer
04-16-2003, 12:07 AM
Wait - where do 'stubbies' fit into this. And why don't you ever see them anymore?

Exapno Mapcase
04-16-2003, 12:08 AM
Originally posted by Zenster
Humans are most used to drinking from long neck flasks.

I don't understand this at all. Throughout history, in every culture, humans drink from cups and bowls and glasses, goblets and steins and tankards, and every other variety that comes to mind this late at night. Wide bodies that one sipped or gulped from, in other words.

But long neck flasks? Not in any glass or ceramic museum I've ever been in.

Could you explain this?

Fear Itself
04-16-2003, 01:18 AM
Long necks are refillable. Twist-offs aren't. Thats why you usually only see long necks at bars, where they can be easily recycled.

Beer Penguin
04-16-2003, 02:07 AM
Originally posted by meyer
Wait - where do 'stubbies' fit into this. And why don't you ever see them anymore?

Red Stripe comes in stubbies. It's beer. Hooray Beer!

viking
04-16-2003, 02:20 AM
I remember a visit by these media/ advertising awareness freakshows who insisted that the short-necked or stubby bottles were made to appeal to men because they were shaped like a breast, and when more women started drinking, they came out with the long-necks, which are a phallic symbol. Sounded like BS then, and it sounds like BS now. And they say high school was a waste of time :)

3trew
04-16-2003, 02:22 AM
Anybody who has the length of the neck affect the temperature of their beer just isn't drinking fast enough.

I miss stubbies too.

Philster
04-16-2003, 09:25 AM
I have to jump in.

If you go to a bar (a pub) and drink beer out of a bottle, you've clearly missed the concept of bars and the concept of bottled beer.

Bottled beer makes home consumption convenient, but it's not how you should drink a beer if given the choice. Beer should be poured from a tap.

The ulitmate loser is one who goes to a bar/pub and not only orders a bottled beer, but gets a 'lite' beer.

Sorry for sidetracking this, but I am always emabarrassed by this goofy American habit of drinking bottled beer in a pub.

Longnecks are great for recycling when you have to refill the boxes/cases with them, and they are handled better by workers getting them back on line for cleaning and refilling.

nitroglycerine
04-16-2003, 09:43 AM
Originally posted by Beer Penguin
Red Stripe comes in stubbies. It's beer. Hooray Beer!

Rolling Rock (my favorite American Beer) comes in 8 oz pony bottles too. When I was a kid in the late 70s early 80s, they were perfect for sneaking into school, because you could fit 2 in each jean jacket pocket :D

Jon

GaryM
04-16-2003, 10:01 AM
Anyone remember "chug-a-mugs" from the mid 60s? I think Reingold was the brand. The chug-a-mugs had an opening about 2 inches across.

Beer Penguin
04-16-2003, 10:06 AM
Originally posted by nitroglycerine
Rolling Rock (my favorite American Beer) comes in 8 oz pony bottles too. When I was a kid in the late 70s early 80s, they were perfect for sneaking into school, because you could fit 2 in each jean jacket pocket :D

Jon

I've never seen the Rock in anything but longnecks.

Mickey's also comes in grenades, which are just short, stubby bottles.

glilly
04-16-2003, 11:40 AM
Originally posted by Fear Itself
Long necks are refillable. Twist-offs aren't. Thats why you usually only see long necks at bars, where they can be easily recycled.

I'd heard the same before, but the question it begs is, why aren't twist-offs refillable? Have they just not updated the machinery to clean and refill the shorter bottles, or is there something intrinsic in shorties that make them unable to be refilled?

nitroglycerine
04-16-2003, 11:41 AM
Originally posted by Beer Penguin
I've never seen the Rock in anything but longnecks.

Mickey's also comes in grenades, which are just short, stubby bottles.

Maybe its a local thing. I live about an hour and a half or so from the glass lined tanks of Old Latrobe. The 8 oz 8 packs probably aren't distributed outside PA.

Jon

World Eater
04-16-2003, 11:41 AM
I'm liking those Heineken (sp?) mini keg cans.

Casey1505
04-16-2003, 11:50 AM
Originally posted by nitroglycerine
Rolling Rock (my favorite American Beer) comes in 8 oz pony bottles too. When I was a kid in the late 70s early 80s, they were perfect for sneaking into school, because you could fit 2 in each jean jacket pocket :D

Jon

Case Studies, baby!!

Several bars, notably the Rathskellar in State College, attempt to set records for selling cases of pony bottles.

Ahhh, the Rathskellar.....they don't sweep it at the end of the night, they hose it down.

Ethilrist
04-16-2003, 11:57 AM
Originally posted by glilly
I'd heard the same before, but the question it begs is, why aren't twist-offs refillable? Have they just not updated the machinery to clean and refill the shorter bottles, or is there something intrinsic in shorties that make them unable to be refilled?
They haven't figured out how to put more than one cap on a screwtop bottle without having the threads start to chip off. How badly do you want to avoid having shards of glass on the threads when you start drinking?

Also, since they haven't been refillable, they've been making them out of much thinner glass which can't handle a lot of abuse. Bottles which are planned on being refilled are thicker (even thicker than non-screwtop bottles which aren't expected to be refilled). I wouldn't want to put a lot of faith on lightweight bottles with my homebrew. Don't need no exploding bottles in my basement.

Ethilrist
04-16-2003, 12:16 PM
As a counter to my previous post in the it-takes-all-kinds category, I have spoken with homebrewers who reuse screw-top bottles and they say they've never had a problem. Not for me, thanks. I have also heard from someone who reuses 2-liter soda bottles.

lost4life
04-16-2003, 12:18 PM
Originally posted by Fear Itself
Long necks are refillable. Twist-offs aren't. Thats why you usually only see long necks at bars, where they can be easily recycled.
We get long necks everywhere in Michigan.

We used to get the pony bottles (8 oz) when I lived in NJ, and they were good for sneaking around. The beer was also colder because you finished it before it could warm up! I'm sure some of this has to do with deposit laws. We have a $.10 per bottle deposit, redeemable anywhere that sells the product. It probably cuts down on the hassle by reducing the amount of bottles.

A long neck beer just tastes better. It's a proven fact. For a cite, I'll point you to myself. ;) Now if I could just get some of those 16oz Yeungling long necks that they have in PA.

postcards
04-16-2003, 01:46 PM
Fuji Bitter also comes in stubbies. But you need to go to Fiji first...

Zenster
04-16-2003, 02:39 PM
Originally posted by Exapno Mapcase
I don't understand this at all. Throughout history, in every culture, humans drink from cups and bowls and glasses, goblets and steins and tankards, and every other variety that comes to mind this late at night. Wide bodies that one sipped or gulped from, in other words.

But long neck flasks? Not in any glass or ceramic museum I've ever been in.

Could you explain this? This comment is in direct reference to the long neck versus short neck bottle issue brought up in the OP.

toadspittle
04-16-2003, 03:48 PM
Originally posted by Casey1505
Case Studies, baby!!

Several bars, notably the Rathskellar in State College, attempt to set records for selling cases of pony bottles.

Ahhh, the Rathskellar.....they don't sweep it at the end of the night, they hose it down.

The 'Skellar's annual "Case Races"! Ah, yes. I can't believe such a thing was legal. Is it still allowed?

(FTR, my sister, who went to Dickinson, in Carlisle, used to go out with her friends not for a case of ponies, but a "bucket of rocks"--pony Rolling Rocks in a bucket with ice.)



The OP begs two questions:

1. Do retailers charge more for longneck bottles? If they charge some sort of premium for a presumed "premium beer experience," I could see the logic in offering it ... else, why not just switch to cheaper short bottles?

2. Is there some sort of longneck arms race we're only dimly aware of? That is, is there a significant portion of beer drinkers that prefers longnecks over shortnecks to such a degree that they'd be willing to switch brands (i.e., from Miller to Bud, etc.) just to get a longneck bottle?

toadspittle
04-16-2003, 04:01 PM
Originally posted by Casey1505
Case Studies, baby!!

Several bars, notably the Rathskellar in State College, attempt to set records for selling cases of pony bottles.

Ahhh, the Rathskellar.....they don't sweep it at the end of the night, they hose it down.

The 'Skellar's annual "Case Races"! Ah, yes. I can't believe such a thing was legal. Is it still allowed?

(FTR, my sister, who went to Dickinson, in Carlisle, used to go out with her friends not for a case of ponies, but a "bucket of rocks"--pony Rolling Rocks in a bucket with ice.)



The OP begs two questions:

1. Do retailers charge more for longneck bottles? If they charge some sort of premium for a presumed "premium beer experience," I could see the logic in offering it ... else, why not just switch to cheaper short bottles?

2. Is there some sort of longneck arms race we're only dimly aware of? That is, is there a significant portion of beer drinkers that prefers longnecks over shortnecks to such a degree that they'd be willing to switch brands (i.e., from Miller to Bud, etc.) just to get a longneck bottle?

akennett
04-16-2003, 05:33 PM
Yep, the Skeller still does Case Race. Now I'll just have to see when the next one is...I can see this being the next dopefest

micco
04-16-2003, 05:49 PM
Originally posted by Philster
If you go to a bar (a pub) and drink beer out of a bottle, you've clearly missed the concept of bars and the concept of bottled beer. Have you ever tried to defend yourself with a pint glass? Ever seen a tab of acid or a cigarette butt flipped four feet into an open beer bottle? If you don't see the point in drinking longnecks in a bar, maybe you're not hanging out in the right bars.

Casey1505
04-16-2003, 06:06 PM
Originally posted by akennett
Yep, the Skeller still does Case Race. Now I'll just have to see when the next one is...I can see this being the next dopefest

I'd go. My wife is a PSU grad.

We'd need to find a sitter for our son, who's 3.

....unless they still don't card...;)

TV time
04-16-2003, 06:28 PM
Where I grew up the point of drinking a long necks in a bar is that with a long neck you have a weapon with a good gripable handle, with a stubbie you don't.

For the most part, I no longer frequent tough bars, but I continue to order long neck beer (whatever kind they happen to have) and sit with my back to the wall usually on the blind side of the door. It's may be paranoia, but it's a habit I got into. If forced to drink out of a glass, I will always request a mug - it also breaks better for making a weapon.

Drinking long necks has nothing to do with taste (in my mind it never has) - just defense.

TV

MissGypsy
04-16-2003, 07:23 PM
Just for the record, those short-neck bottles are referred to as "flagships" in the beer industry. And long-necks may be either returnable (where they are cleaned and used again) or non-returnable. The way to tell the difference is by looking at the thickness of glass on the rim of the bottle. Returnable bottles are made of thicker glass.

Few bars order returnables; they tend to ask for longneck NRs. Breakage seems to be their main concern, and returnable bottles require a deposit. IIRC, they're about a buck and a half more expensive than NRs, not even counting the deposit.

I spent way too much of my life working in the adult beverage industry...

Ill Logik
04-16-2003, 08:47 PM
Long necks are preferable because it allows one to perform the coveted "Jedi Bottle Trick."

bump
04-16-2003, 11:47 PM
Originally posted by Fear Itself
Long necks are refillable. Twist-offs aren't. Thats why you usually only see long necks at bars, where they can be easily recycled.

Huh? Far as I know, Lone Star only comes bottled in twist-off longnecks.

Shoot... here in Texas, it seems like I see 3 longnecks for every one short-neck bottle, even at groceries and liquor stores.

Fear Itself
04-17-2003, 02:06 AM
Originally posted by bump
Huh? Far as I know, Lone Star only comes bottled in twist-off longnecks. A twist-off on a long neck is a bastardized wanna-be. Thinner, lighter-weight glass, threads on the lip, why bother? Just because it's tall, doesn't make it a long neck.

Tuckerfan
04-17-2003, 02:31 AM
This is going to come as a shock to you, but after spending more years in the Stop-N-RobTM industry than I care to admit, I know the answer. (No, it's not shocking that I know the answer, what's going to shock you is the answer.) They're sold because halfwits out there think that long neck bottles have more beer in them, even though long necks and flagships both have the fluid ounces printed clearly on the labels which state that they both hold the same amount of beer. The yutzes buy the long necks (same price as the flagships, BTW) because they're too stupid to read anything on the label other than "Budweiser," "Miller," or what have you, and think that long neck=more beer.

Ethilrist
04-17-2003, 08:31 AM
I think Tuckerfan has got this one nailed.

toadspittle
04-17-2003, 11:50 AM
Originally posted by Ethilrist
I think Tuckerfan has got this one nailed.

How do you figure?

The yutzes buy the long necks (same price as the flagships, BTW) because they're too stupid to read anything on the label other than "Budweiser," "Miller," or what have you, and think that long neck=more beer.


So here are the scenarios:

A. Buyer prefers Bud. Buyer sees Bud in flagships and longnecks. Flagship 6-pack costs buyer $6. Longneck 6-pack costs buyer $6. Both contain 12 oz. of beer per bottle. Buyer chooses longnecks, pays $6. Brewery spends more money on longneck bottles, receives no extra money from buyer.

B. Buyer prefers Bud. Bud decides to only make flagships. Flagship 6-pack costs buyer $6, contains 12 oz. of beer per bottle. Buyer chooses flagships (no other choice), pays $6. Brewery spends less money on flagship bottles, pockets savings of flagship vs. longneck bottle manufacture.



The only way this scenario could make sense would be:

C. Buyer has no particular beer preference. Buyer sees Bud in longnecks, and Miller in flagships. Bud six-pack costs buyer $6. Miller six-pack costs buyer $6. Both contain 12 oz. of beer per bottle. Buyer chooses longnecks, thinking that they contain more beer than rival flagships, pays $6. Bud spends more money on longneck bottles, but doesn't care because it just stole market share from Miller.


Of course, then Miller would just produce longnecks so that the playing field would be level, making option C impossible.

Is this what has happened? Are the rival breweries just producing longnecks to keep their business from being lost to people whose brand preference is not that strong (and would simply prefer the most beer for their dollar)?

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