February 23, 2011

Bottle Sources

I've been looking into fancy glass bottles to use. Just for fun, I'd like to get some bottles and either pad print or etch my own logo onto them. Then craft a matching wooden crate to store them in, also emblazoned with a custom logo. First, I need a custom logo.
Until then, I'm left to digging up pieces of nostalgia that would bring back my parents' childhood memories or seeking out current production glass bottles with pop off crown caps.

Most of my bottles are the blue Nittany Ale bottles seen in posts from last year. While these are great quality, thick, beautiful bottles, they hide the colorful brew inside. I like to use them for root beers, butterscotch, and other such recipes that aren't much to look at. But it's hard for me to justify hiding that lovely coconut lime when I mix it up.

My clear 12 oz. longneck bottles are actually Corona bottles that I cleaned up and scoured the labels off. While these are the most common clear bottles I've found with pop-off caps, they're thin and I'm worried that they're more prone to breakage. Scouring labels can get old, and since I don't drink beer and they're an import, they're hard to come by. Coronita bottles also work, they're 7 oz.

Most sodas come in quality bottles, a lot come in clear, but most are twist off. I've been reusing Crush bottles, but twist offs don't cap well. They get stuck in the capper and I don't think they seal as well. Rumor has it the threads can wear out and break, leaving you with glass shards and an unusable bottle.

My favorite is 187mL champagne bottles. You can buy them new, they're nice and thick, and if you didn't know they were champagne bottles, you'd think they were old time soda bottles. They're very close in size and shape to the old 7 oz. 7up bottles.

Speaking of old 7up bottles. I picked up a few of these and I do love them. Old bottles can be fun to collect, not to mention rewarding. If you happen to find an amber 7up bottle, they can be worth quite a bit to collectors. They do need a good cleaning, though. Some have been left in garages, barns or attics for years, so you do want to select and clean them carefully. With everyone crying about going green, I'm surprised the returnable bottle hasn't made a comeback. I understand why from a logistics point of view, but I'd expect to get over it. GlassBottleSoda.org has a listing of places that still do returnables, but they're still fading.

If you want the look of old time bottles with the peace of mind of newer bottles, Mexican sodas often have pop off crown caps. Mexican Coke is particularly popular right now due to misguided fear of HFCS. Some say it also tastes better without the corn syrup, I'm skeptical, but I don't drink much Coke, either. I'm not sure how I feel about the Fanta bottles though. They look classic, but their still not that aesthetic.

There are a number of "boutique" beverages that are difficult to find that use pop off caps. Usually bottles from other countries use them. I've found San Pellegrino Aranciata, Limonata and Chinotto in 7 oz. bottles that use pop offs, I've even found 2 or 4 oz. bitters from the same brand, though I'm not sure of the practicality of that. Q brand Tonic water has an interesting bottle as well. I've seen that in a couple of places. Fever Tree has Club Soda and Ginger Ale in 6 oz longneck bottles. You do find a few here and there, but I've never justified buying them, due to the fact that I have nearly 100 perfectly good bottles. Yet somehow, I just want more. I must be addicted.

Pictured here for comparison from left to right are Mexican Fanta, Nittany Ale, Crush, Corona, vintage Sprite, vintage 7up (12 oz and 7oz), 187mL champagne, and Martinelli's Sparkling Cider.

Feel free to comment if you find some fabulous sodas with pop off caps so as to create an ongoing list of useful reusable bottles.


  1. I found this very helpful, as I just started home brewing soda, and do not want to use PET plastic bottles (leeching concerns, etc.)

    If you have any updates on preferred bottles, I'd love to hear about it.


    1. Thanks Jodi,
      Some updates that I've found particularly interesting are that Mexican Pepsi seems to be showing up in stores, they are the same shape as a champagne bottle, but come in a 12oz size. If you want to go bigger, which tends to hold carbonation better, Acqua Panna's food service bottles sometimes come in a 1L size with a pry-off cap. Look for them at Olive Garden.

  2. senorial sangria soda is cheap, available in the mexican food aisle, and in green champagne style bottles.

    1. Thank you for that, I've only seen that in a few places here, but it is more prominent out west. I actually found some this past week and picked up a bottle, along with some Mexican Sprite. Sadly, the Mexican Pepsi is no longer available here where I had seen it before.

  3. I found these but there is a $75 minimum purches


    1. Great find, thanks for sharing!
      Though from their website, it looks like their pictures don't always match the description:
      This one says 28mm twist off caps, but the picture is obviously pry off.

  4. The tough part is finding the bottles with the crown cap enclosure. You are right. Scrapping labels off bottles gets old quick.

  5. Thanks for taking the time to discuss this, I feel strongly that love and read more on this topic. If possible, such as gain knowledge, would you mind updating your blog with additional information? It is very useful for me.spirit bottles


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