Sunday, January 9, 2011

Draught beer or bottled beer?

Some people clearly prefer draught beer rather than bottled beer, or vice versa, but some other people do not really care, they just want beer to be cold enough. This post is for these people: maybe the following figures will turn you into staunch advocates of draught beer.
Every barrel contains 30 litres of beer. Taking into account that half-litre to one litre beer is lost from each barrel while serving draught beer, we can state that each barrel results in 88 glasses of 330 ml, that is, about 12 fl oz of beer. The lifespan of a barrel is 10 years and barrels can be refilled as often as you want, but usually each barrel is refilled 6 times per year. In short: every barrel can serve 5,280 glasses of beer.
Let’s look at beer bottles now. A beer bottle of 330 ml can be refilled up to 7 times (after being cleaned and treated at the bottling plant), but most bottles break much before, so we get an average of 5 refillings per bottle. That means that each barrel is equivalent to 1,056 beer bottles refilled 5 times.
Finally, let’s estimate how much beer we drink in our lifetime. It is quite difficult because we all have different drinking habits, but let’s image someone who loves beer without having any alcohol addiction: this person may drink a glass or bottle of beer every day (or seven glasses or bottles of beer on the weekend). This standard drinker shall take 365 beers every year, resulting in 18,250 beers in 50 years --that is 6,083 litres.
Therefore, a standard beer drinker may use 3,650 bottles in his lifetime (each bottle refilled five times), whereas it would mean only three and a half barrels (refilled sixty times). Just imagine a pile of residues made up of 3,650 glass bottles and, next to it, three and a half barrels of beer. Our conclusion is quite obvious: the ecological impact of a drinker of draught beer is less significant, so if you do not really care about draught or bottled beer, here you have a choice!


For our calculations, we carried out a survey in a dozen beer companies. Then, we reached our conclusions sitting around a table, with a beer in our hands –needless to say, a draught beer.


  1. It is very interesting, thanks for sharing it. Regards from Spain

  2. In any case, please refuse cans!

    Thanks for share.

  3. Love it. We are such marvelous ecologists only aided by the fact that Guinness is horrific from anything other than a barrel!
    Love your research and analysis method.

  4. New research from the Pacific Institute estimates that bottled water is up to 2000 times more energy-intensive than tap water. Similarly. James L. Martin