Monday, September 12, 2016

99 Bottles

Have you ever wondered why you never see Plastic beer bottles?  
Well, I do.  
We see gazillions of plastic water bottles, soft drink bottles, even 1.75 liter bottles of booze are common as dirt, so why not beer?
It would seem plastic bottles would be ideal for the beach, or the pool, or anywhere glass bottles are prohibited, but I've never seen one.
The answer may be that I just wasn't paying attention.  
Miller attempted to introduce plastic in 2014, announcing that 2% of their production would be packaged in plastic bottles.  I'm not sure where they sold them, but I never saw any here.  Heineken (an official sponsor) shipped over a million plastic bottles to London for the 2012 Olympics. Several companies offer plastic beer bottles for the home brewing industry - they may actually be more common than glass bottles.
Reasons given for not using plastic don't seem to hold water beer.
It has been said that plastic will not hold up to the heat needed for pasteurization, but the fact that it has been done by several breweries seems to give the lie to that.  The other common excuse is that plastic is more permeable than glass, so beer in plastic can lose carbonation.  It doesn't seem to affect the millions of soft drinks bottled in plastic.
Even so, the vast majority of beer comes in glass bottles or aluminum cans, with a slight edge (53.5% in 2012) going to aluminum cans. 
I should point out that even those aluminum cans are lined with  plastic, and that plastic contains BPA (bisphenol A) an endocrine disrupting product that has been banned in baby bottles and sippy cups. BPA has been associated with cognitive issues and some forms of cancer, but I wouldn't worry about it.  At the low concentrations in can linings, that much beer will kill you long before you're affected by the plastic in the liner.

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