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  #1  
Old 05-03-2010, 09:31 AM
MikeF MikeF is offline
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Why 12 oz. Beers?

How did 12 oz. become the standard size for a beer (and soda, for that matter - but I don't drink soda) in the U.S.? Its not really a logical division of a gallon. When I was a kid it seemed most adults drank beer in 16 oz. returnable bottles. Do they even make them any more?
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  #2  
Old 05-03-2010, 09:41 AM
elmwood elmwood is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeF View Post
When I was a kid it seemed most adults drank beer in 16 oz. returnable bottles. Do they even make them any more?
Genesee and Genesee Cream Ale are the only beers I can remember that were sold in 12 and 16 ounce bottles. You can still get cases of Genny pounders at beverage stores and convenience stores in blue collar neighborhoods.
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Old 05-03-2010, 09:45 AM
Exapno Mapcase Exapno Mapcase is offline
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Just a guess, but an extremely common ploy in marketing is to make the package smaller so that the price can stay the same. That seems to upset consumers less than raising the price for the same amount.

That's a game that can be played for only so long, but it happens on every aisle of the grocery store.
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Old 05-03-2010, 10:07 AM
JerseyFrank JerseyFrank is offline
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I always thought it was because of Pepsi advertising.
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Old 05-03-2010, 10:29 AM
Chefguy Chefguy is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Exapno Mapcase View Post
Just a guess, but an extremely common ploy in marketing is to make the package smaller so that the price can stay the same. That seems to upset consumers less than raising the price for the same amount.

That's a game that can be played for only so long, but it happens on every aisle of the grocery store.
Yeah, but they've always been 12 oz. as far back as I can remember, so it's not like they've downsized. It may just be a packaging and production thing, or something as simple as "follow the leader", i.e., the first canned soft drink may have been arbitrarily issued as a 12 oz drink and all the others followed suit.
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  #6  
Old 05-03-2010, 10:37 AM
yabob yabob is offline
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Seems to me they've always been 12 oz, back into the 1970s. Except for outliers like Rolling Rock in the 7 ounce pony bottles, 48 to the case.

There is such a thing as the "Industry Standard Bottle", BTW, which is 12 oz.

This guy claims that it's 12 oz because that's the size Owens Bottle Company chose to make them in the early 20th century:

http://answers.yahoo.com/question/in...9222311AAPVhIN

It does appear that Owens Bottle Company, now Owens-Illinois, captured a large part of the glass bottle market by coming up with a bottle manufacturing process and promoting a standardized product:

http://www.utoledo.edu/library/canad...ibit/Owens.htm
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  #7  
Old 05-03-2010, 11:04 AM
Exapno Mapcase Exapno Mapcase is offline
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The Origin and Life of the Export Beer Bottle is a pretty amazing article in .pdf form that confirms that 12 ounces was the standard size.

However, there were and apparently are lots of 16 ounce bottles floating around, especially for the home brewer market. Find.com lists 201 stores with 635 products matching 16 ounce beer bottles. (You have to scroll down to see the products. Bad html.)
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Old 05-03-2010, 11:33 AM
psycat90 psycat90 is offline
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That was indeed a fascinating and amazing article.


Thanks for linking to that, Exapno!
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  #9  
Old 05-03-2010, 08:55 PM
samclem samclem is offline
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Originally Posted by psycat90 View Post
That was indeed a fascinating and amazing article.


Thanks for linking to that, Exapno!
But, but..............they didn't explain about the number "33." That's all that's important.
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  #10  
Old 05-03-2010, 11:16 PM
pkbites pkbites is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeF View Post
How did 12 oz. become the standard size for a beer (and soda, for that matter - but I don't drink soda) in the U.S.? Its not really a logical division of a gallon. When I was a kid it seemed most adults drank beer in 16 oz. returnable bottles. Do they even make them any more?
The only beer I recall coming standard in 16oz returnables was Weber.

I would prefer beer come in Imperial Pints (about 19.2 U.S. ounces )
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Old 05-04-2010, 05:06 AM
Khadaji Khadaji is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by elmwood View Post
Genesee and Genesee Cream Ale are the only beers I can remember that were sold in 12 and 16 ounce bottles. You can still get cases of Genny pounders at beverage stores and convenience stores in blue collar neighborhoods.
Genny pounders! That brings back some college memories.
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  #12  
Old 05-04-2010, 09:08 AM
Tom Tildrum Tom Tildrum is offline
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Budweiser makes 16 oz. cans that they call "tallboys."
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  #13  
Old 05-04-2010, 10:22 AM
jasg jasg is offline
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..and at the other end of the scale, 7oz Coors cans.

(and many others, I remember Oly, Lucky and Miller)
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  #14  
Old 05-04-2010, 11:27 AM
ShibbOleth ShibbOleth is offline
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Found this from the American Breweriana Association
website
Quote:
News

January 24, 2010
75Tth Birthday of the Beer Can

January 24, 1935 was the birthday of the beer can. It was introduced by the G. Krueger Brewing Company of Newark, NJ. in Richmond Virginia.

It was very successful and several other breweries quickly followed and the way Americans drink beer changed forever.
Doesn't say if that was 12 ounces, though.
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  #15  
Old 05-04-2010, 12:10 PM
MikeF MikeF is offline
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I like the theory of one shot of liquor=one 5oz. glass of wine=1 12 oz. beer. Kind of makes sense. At least in the days of stronger beer. I also thought that, maybe, with coldness being more of a desirable trait in the U.S. vs the rest of the world, people didn't want the beer to get warm before they finished it.
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  #16  
Old 05-04-2010, 12:38 PM
N9IWP N9IWP is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pkbites View Post
The only beer I recall coming standard in 16oz returnables was Weber.

I would prefer beer come in Imperial Pints (about 19.2 U.S. ounces )

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pippin
It comes in pints?


Brian
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  #17  
Old 05-04-2010, 06:15 PM
asterion asterion is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom Tildrum View Post
Budweiser makes 16 oz. cans that they call "tallboys."
Miller High Life is also available in 16 oz. cans. Don't know if there is a name used.
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  #18  
Old 05-04-2010, 08:11 PM
IAmNotSpartacus IAmNotSpartacus is offline
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Tall boys are 24 oz cans, not 16.
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  #19  
Old 05-05-2010, 10:55 AM
pkbites pkbites is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IAmNotSpartacus View Post
Tall boys are 24 oz cans, not 16.
Unfortunately, not any more.

On the new Schlitz 16 ouncers they even have the words "Tall Boy" printed on the can.

Beer has always been available in various sizes. I'm thinking the OP meant that at one time the average serving of beer was a 16 ounce bottle. I don't recall that myself. I've been around since 1960 and remember most average returnables being 12 ounces. Before that I couldn't say.
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  #20  
Old 05-05-2010, 11:04 AM
IAmNotSpartacus IAmNotSpartacus is offline
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Originally Posted by pkbites View Post
Unfortunately, not any more.
That's a pounder. Forgive me for not giving credibility to Schlitz's marketing department. Just because they put it on the can doesn't make it so.
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  #21  
Old 05-05-2010, 11:22 AM
pkbites pkbites is online now
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Originally Posted by IAmNotSpartacus View Post
That's a pounder. Forgive me for not giving credibility to Schlitz's marketing department. Just because they put it on the can doesn't make it so.
Heh. You're preaching to the choir.

I remember being in New Orleans and they were selling 32 ouncers as "Huge Ass Beers". I said "I'm from Wisconsin, Drunkest Place on EarthTM, this is a shot glass."
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  #22  
Old 05-05-2010, 11:39 AM
Lunar Saltlick Lunar Saltlick is offline
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Out of curiosity, does anyone ever measure the actual amount in the bottle, just to make sure? I'm betting some sneaky "12-oz" bottles actually deliver 11.75 or so, maybe worse. Last time I was in Europe, there was a big to-do about the holding capacity of beer steins and whether you were really getting your full pint. I didn't pay any attention to the controversy, but this thread just reminded me of it.
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  #23  
Old 05-05-2010, 01:07 PM
psycat90 psycat90 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lunar Saltlick View Post
Out of curiosity, does anyone ever measure the actual amount in the bottle, just to make sure? I'm betting some sneaky "12-oz" bottles actually deliver 11.75 or so, maybe worse. Last time I was in Europe, there was a big to-do about the holding capacity of beer steins and whether you were really getting your full pint. I didn't pay any attention to the controversy, but this thread just reminded me of it.
TTB has been known to pull samples of wine, and I can only assume beer and spirits as well, to test various aspects of the contents with regards to how they are labeled.

A tolerance is allowed on fill levels, but it is incredibly minute. For the most part, fill levels have to be pretty close to exact in order to be released as tax-paid. A friend of a friend of mine works at an A-B plant in NJ. The employees there are simply given cases of short-fill bottles.

Here's a snippet of regulations regarding net contents from TTB -

Quote:
Tolerances. The statement of net contents shall indicate exactly the volume of beer within the bottle except for variations in measuring as may occur in filling conducted in compliance with good commercial practice.
That translates to just the tiniest fraction of an ounce per bottle/can.
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  #24  
Old 05-05-2010, 04:12 PM
Cliffy Cliffy is offline
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I'm with JerseyFrank -- when cans were introduced, 12 oz was the "regular" size established after Coke and Pepsi duked it out on the issue, a conflict initiated by "Pepsi Cola hits the spot, twelve full ounces -- that's a lot!"

--Cliffy
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