Serious Eats: Talk
Beer: Is Bigger Always Better?
The beer we've traditionally bought comes in 12 oz. bottles or cans. However, as highlighted by a recent New York Times article, craft beer is changing things up with some big ass bottles of beer (some up to three liters). Is bigger really better?
It seems like it's mostly the brewers who are in favor of distributing bigger bottles of beer. Some feel that as craft beer becomes more refined, is made with more interesting and inventive ingredients, and a higher alcohol content, it deserves to be showcased in a larger bottle and enjoyed in a different way. It's about sharing a bottle with a friend and pouring it into glasses, rather than just grabbing a can and chugging. The bottle creates a whole new experience, and also puts more money in the brewers' pockets. While there's usually a maximum people are willing to pay for 12 oz. bottles of beer, that limit doesn't exist yet for the larger sizes.
Many drinkers are not taking to this new trend as quickly as brewers would like. And in reality, they should accept the fact that it may take a while. It's not just about selling beer in bigger bottles - they're trying to change a beer drinking culture that's existed for hundreds of years. Beer has a working class persona that makes it a drink most people can afford to enjoy nearly every day, whether or not it has a creative name or interesting ingredients. Most people don't want to spend the money on a bigger bottle and they don't like having to commit to drinking a 750 ml bottle all at once. Many beer drinkers who buy a six-pack just want one or two - they don't want all six. Plus, the big bottles typically have a higher ABV (alcohol content) than your average beer that you could drink all night without getting hammered. That's one of the beauties of beer that is being altered right now.
We see the benefits of small and big bottles (and have been known to buy both). What do you think? Are you into keeping things the way they've always been, or evolving?