The subject of "packaging" is one very hot topic in Beer these days. And when we say these days, it's been heavily discussed for the best part of last year when talking about canning and for a lengthy time before then over cask. Plus, there was a fair bit on different types of kegs. So, we can all get it straight that "packaging" is not something a brewery can take lightly.
Being what the Americans would call a 'production brewery'; one which makes beer and sells the product to others to primarily dispense rather than serving at the source, our packaging is very important. Making the right decisions about it, means we are likely to get more of our beers to others and because we care about beer a lot, we want to do so in the best way possible. Since we're not at the stages of moving to canning for all its benefits, we've put adequate emphasis on reviewing our current packaging. It's our decision, therefore, to make the move away from 500ml bottles, except from our sharing beers (a.k.a big ass stouts and the like) which will remain in 660ml bombers.
What is this change about? So, originally we packaged almost all out sub 5.5% beers into 500ml bottles, such as Little Things that Kill, Dark Hopfler and Black Perle to name a few. We did this because we quite like to drink a pints' worth of those lower ABV beers and a 500ml bottle would cater to those preferences of ours. However, for a long while now we've been asked "why the different bottle sizes?", trying to express our reasons of doing so, sometimes met with confusion by customers who think we package all beer in both formats and noticing an increasing demand from our accounts for 330ml.
In a nutshell, customers and pubs prefer 330ml bottles and principally because it's the standard size all over the world. Shelf and fridge space are better suited to one size ie: 330ml bottles. Our 500ml bottles sometimes look side-lined from the others. On a related subject, the aesthetics of 330ml bottles appeals more to restaurants and within fine-dining where they have begun serving bottled beers as an option of drink at meals. All these factors don't entirely exclude our 500ml bottled beers but did show signs that maybe our want for that size of packaging wasn't going to get those beer as widely enjoyed. We've always said we brew what we like to drink and we certainly don't like to jump on any ol' bandwagon; we do feel that we're making the right move here for our beers and for our customers. For every batch of beer, although our manual bottling days will be longer and harder, there will be more bottles out there. We're willing to embrace that and hope those of you who are fond of the 500ml bottles, don't feel too put out by the change.
As of this week, Dark Hopfler is now in 330ml and we'll start rolling out the others shortly.
We may be standardising our bottle size but you can still count on the same exciting beers within the container!