Bottled beer with a flip-top cap, while not very common, is in demand. Such bottles are easy to open by hand with a lever on the side of the neck and just as easy to cap, which makes them popular, especially among home brewers. Let’s take a look at the history of the origin of the flip-top, swing-top, or grundle.
Prior to the flip-top, bottles were often made of blown glass and sealed with a wooden stopper, which was difficult to open by hand. Also, the closure technique was not very reliable, especially for very carbonated beverages.
Ironically, it was American housewives, who changed the history of the beer bottle as they were faced with the problem of storing food. However, even earlier this problem was considered… by Napoleon. During his lengthy campaigns of conquest outside France, his army was in constant need of quality provisions. Napoleon even offered a prize of 12,000 francs for developing a way to store food that could be taken on campaigns. The prize was won by Nicolas Appert, the father of home canning, who discovered that food sealed tightly in a jar or bottle and subjected to heat by boiling would keep for a long period of time.
A brief history of the glass beer bottle with Swing Tops
This topic was further developed in the United States with the creation of glass jars with a lapped lid (fruit jar). In 1853 James Spratt of Cincinnati was granted the first known patent for “improving the fastening of bottles. He suggested using glass stoppers that were sealed with a special solution or sealing wax. The cork had a hole in the center through which steam could escape during the boiling process. This hole had to be closed with a drop of sealing wax when boiling was completed. Later a special wax was used for this purpose. Such jars were made until about 1915, and sealing wax was sold until 1929.
In 1858 a predecessor to the bugle cork was invented – a Kilner-type cap with a gasket, several metal guides, and a clamp. Various variations of such stoppers were used for more than a hundred years, but most importantly, other inventors began to develop this approach. In 1875, Charles de Kiefeldt patented a new plug format. He originally called his invention an “improved bottle stopper,” but later it was called a “lightning stopper” because it could be opened and closed quickly. It is not known for sure if de Kiefeldt himself coined the term – his first patent application does not use the name. A few years later the rights to the invention were acquired by Henry W. Putnam, who adapted the design for use on jars for fruit jams and loose products. In 1882 he received a patent for the cork, which was already referred to specifically as the “zipper.” The same name is used in an updated patent application from 1898.
The first known use of the “zip-top” dates back to 1876. It was recorded in the New England Medical Register. But in parallel, the idea of such plugs was developed in Europe. In 1875, the German Carl Dietrich developed a cap with a buckle for attaching to bottles, and two years later Nikolai Fritzner opened a factory in Berlin to produce such bucket clamps. Its technical description reads in full as “Vertical Pinch-Block Clamping Device; Pinch-Block Clamps are primarily suitable for rapid corking and fastening of caps and valves.
The name “bugle plug” was also adopted from the German language: bügel translates as “handle, arc” or “grip, clamp”. Such locks are suitable for a wide variety of corks and caps – not only for beer bottles.
In 1877, Hermann Grauel of Magdeburg patented a hinged cap that was known as a “seltzer cap”. Until 1969 it was used for closing mineral water in Germany. A year later Friedrich von Siemens came up with the idea of using a porcelain lid together with a clamp on which advertising logos in different colors could be applied.
But the active development of the idea of hinged lids did not last long. In 1892, the American William Painter invented the crown cork – a device for corking bottles that consisted of a round piece of metal tin that was bent at the edge and a seal. It sounds complicated, but it is the kind of cork that is used by the vast majority of breweries in the world today.
Despite the transition to crown corks, the bugle corks are not dead – some producers still use them today. The mechanism is popular not only among alcoholic and carbonated beverages. Cork stoppers are used for oils, sauces, and other ingredients. But still, the most widespread such plugs are in the brewing industry. The Grolsch brewery, for example, began bottling beer in hinged-cap bottles as early as 1897 and, despite the high cost of production, continues to use such bottles.
Flip-top caps guarantee a high preservation of the flavor characteristics of products, and their main functional feature is that bottles can be easily closed again. In addition, when the bottle is opened, it makes a distinctive popping sound called plopp (or blopp). This sound has become a recognizable “chip” of many beers, and the German company Flensburger Brauerei even builds its advertising strategy around this sound.
List Of Beer Bottles With Swing-Top
Flensburger Pilsener is a German lager beer brewed in the traditional north German style. It has a crisp, light body with a hint of bitterness and a slightly sweet finish. It pairs well with seafood and fish dishes.
Aktien Zwick’l is an unfiltered lager beer brewed according to the Bavarian purity law of 1516. With its golden color and malty flavor, it is a classic example of the Bavarian brewing tradition. The creamy head lingers on top of the glass as you sip this refreshing beer.
Bernard Bohemian Ale Beer
Bernard Bohemian Ale Beer is one of the Czech Republic’s most beloved beers. This dark, full-bodied ale offers flavors of roasted malts, chocolate and coffee. It is slightly sweet with a subtle bitterness in the finish, making it ideal for pairing with hearty dishes.
Bernard ‘Cerny Lezak’
Bernard ‘Cerny Lezak’ is a dark lager brewed according to the Czech Purity Law of 1516. This full-bodied beer has a deep, robust flavor of roasted malts and chocolate notes. It has a smooth, creamy texture and finishes with subtle hints of nuts and caramel.
Doppel-Hirsch is an amber-colored double bock that features a malty sweetness balanced by slight hoppy bitterness. The floral aromas and full body make it perfect for enjoying during any season.
Bastėja Vilniaus Alus
Bastėja Vilniaus Alus is an unfiltered wheat beer brewed in Lithuania. It has a light, refreshing body with notes of banana and clove. The natural carbonation gives it a sparkle that is sure to please the palate.
Grolsch Premium Pilsner
Grolsch Premium Pilsner is a crisp, golden lager beer known for its unique swing-top bottle. This full-bodied pilsner has aromas of sweet malts and hops followed by a smooth finish. Enjoy it on its own or with grilled pork dishes.
Fischer Blonde is an easy-drinking German pale lager featuring notes of grassy hops, light toasted malt, and subtle sweetness. With its clean finish, it’s perfect for all occasions!
Flensburger Kellerbier is an award-winning German Kellerbier. It has a clean, crisp flavor and a smooth body that finishes with a pleasant hop bitterness. Enjoy this beer on its own or with fish dishes.
Hacker-Pschorr Oktoberfest Marzen
Hacker-Pschorr Oktoberfest Marzen is a classic amber-colored lager beer brewed according to the Bavarian purity law of 1516. This full-bodied lager features aromas of sweet malts and noble hops followed by a balanced bitterness in the finish.
Kürzer Alt Brauerei Kürzer
Kürzer Alt Brauerei Kürzer is an amber-colored German ale brewed in the traditional Düsseldorf style. It has aromas of caramelized malts and subtle notes of dark fruit, followed by a smooth, malty finish. Enjoy this beer on its own or with red meat dishes.
Goller Steinhauer Weisse Amber Wheat Beer
Goller Steinhauer Weisse Amber Wheat Beer is an unfiltered German wheat beer featuring a sweet and fruity aroma along with notes of banana and cloves. The slightly sour flavor pairs wonderfully with spicy food.
Are Swing Top Bottles Good for Homebrewing?
When it comes to homebrewing, many brewers prefer swing-top bottles due to their convenience and ease of use. These bottles have several advantages over other types of beer containers, such as being stackable and reusable. Swing tops are an ideal choice for brewing smaller batches of beer at home without having to invest in a large bottling system or equipment.
Swing top bottles also reduce the risk of oxidation when storing your homebrew for long periods of time. This is because the rubber gaskets that form the seal on these bottles create a vacuum-like effect that keeps oxygen out and prevents oxidation from occurring. Furthermore, these seals help keep carbonation levels in check so you don’t end up with flat beers after a few weeks.
Another benefit of using swing-top bottles is that they are easy to clean and sanitize. They do not require any special equipment or cleaning solutions, and can simply be disassembled for thorough cleaning and rinsing with hot water. Finally, these bottles are relatively inexpensive compared to other types of beer containers, making them a cost-effective option for those just starting out in homebrewing.
In conclusion, swing-top bottles offer a number of advantages when it comes to home brewing. They are easy to use, cost-effective, and help reduce the risk of oxidation while keeping your beer fresh for longer periods of time. As such, they make an ideal choice for those looking to brew smaller batches at home without investing in a large bottling system.
If you’re new to homebrewing and are looking for an easy and cost-effective way to store your beer, swing-top bottles are definitely worth considering. They offer many of the same benefits as other types of beer containers, without the need for any special equipment or cleaning solutions. With a little bit of practice and some patience, you can be sure that your homebrew will remain fresh and flavorful for weeks to come when stored in these bottles.