Germany is running out of beer bottles

Illustration for article titled Germany is running out of beer bottles
Photo: MWCPhoto (iStock)

Beer is quite the hot commodity in Germany, especially in this heatwave-laden summer. German beer is primarily bottled (canned beer is thought to be subpar, even though it’s not), and the country’s billions of bottles are recycled as much as 30 times apiece. But this summer, due to an overabundance of beer drinking and underabundance of recycling, the country is in danger of running out of bottles to put its beer in. NPR explains, “as Germans drink more in this heat, and empty bottles pile up by the back door at home, trouble is brewing for the beer-makers.”


As just about every village in Germany has its own brewery, some beermakers have taken to public pleading to get people to bring in their empties, or sending staff out to find used bottles. But that plethora of beer may be part of the problem: Since some beermakers try to differentiate themselves with different types of bottles, that may make the shortage for some even worse.

So much so that some breweries—like the Berlin plant of California craft beer company Stone Brewing—are even considering cans just to find a receptacle for their product (again, canned beers are just fine!). That method may even have its advantages, as master brewer Thomas Tyrell tells NPR, “We think it’s best for the beer because there is no light ingress and, over time, there are some oxygen permeations through the lid of a bottle, which the can doesn’t have.” Plus the cans may edge the bottles out this summer just by virtue of being available.

Gwen Ihnat is the Editorial Coordinator for The A.V. Club.


Manic Otti

Why can’t I buy beer in a box, like wine?