US: Returnable beer bottles – Anheuser-Busch discontinues production

Budweiser long-neck returnable bottles have been around for decades, but Virginians won“t be able to buy their Bud or Bud Light beer at bars and restaurants that way anymore. Anheuser-Busch Inc. has …

Budweiser long-neck returnable bottles have been around for decades, but Virginians won“t be able to buy their Bud or Bud Light beer at bars and restaurants that way anymore. Anheuser-Busch Inc. has decided to discontinue the sale of the returnable bottles in Virginia for cost-saving and environmental reasons. Sales of beer in returnable bottles represented 0.5% of its sales in Virginia, the company said. The St. Louis-based company will sell the more popular non-returnable long-neck bottles, which weigh less and are less costly to produce. Some area bar and restaurant owners, particularly those in the Fan District, are disappointed. Owners also said the returnable bottles helped them better deal with trash at their establishments while also helping the environment. But a growing number of health-conscious consumers do not want to drink beer out of a glass bottle that has been washed, said Mary Alice Ramirez, a company spokeswoman. “With everything going on today, people are not as trusting. Why take the risk,” she said. “It was a safety issue. They“re saying, `Don“t give me a used bottle.“” The returnable bottles cost more to produce, she said. Drivers spend extra time picking them up when making deliveries. The bottles also must be shipped off to be washed. The non-returnable bottles contain 28% less glass. And with less weight and fewer trips, vehicle emissions and fuel use is down, she said. The non-returnable bottles most likely won“t be recycled, which could cause problems for some bar owners who lack the space to dispose of all those empty bottles.