Beer Bottle Sizes • Craft Beer Restaurant Reference Library


In the US, beer bottle capacities have not been standardized into a set of metric sizes as have wine and distilled spirits. That is why you will see beer sold in a much wider variety of bottle sizes. Some may be metric sizes, but all should list the "ounce" equivalent on the label. American and European sizes are somewhat different. You can even build beer sales strategies around the different bottle sizes In practice most all craft beer comes in one or more of the following sizes.

American Craft Beer Bottle Sizes

  1. Bullet12 ounces (most common)

  2. Bullet11 ounce stubby (uncommon)

  3. Bullet22 ounces (also called a bomber)

  4. Bullet24 ounces (less common)

  5. Bullet750 ml or 25.4 ounces

European Craft Beer Bottle Sizes

  1. Bullet33 cl (one-third liter) or 11.2 ounces

  2. Bullet12 ounces (US export size for some labels)

  3. Bullet500 ml or 16.9 ounces

  4. Bullet750 ml or 25.4 ounces

  5. Bullet1 Imperial Pint or 20 ounces (only English beers)

Beers sold in 500 ml bottles aren't likely to also be offered  in 33 cl or 12 oz sizes. This 500 ml size is most common for German beers, while Belgian beers commonly come in the 33 cl size. You will also find a mix of 33 cl and 500 ml bottles in brands from other European countries. High volume European breweries will produce a 12-oz size just for the American market. Asian and Latin American beers typically are sold in the 12 oz package.

Single serving size

Traditionally here in the United States, one serving of beer is considered to be 12 ounces. Certainly this is true for your normal, moderate-alcohol-content beers. Conveniently, most all craft beers come in the 12 oz or 11.2 oz sizes that fill this need. This single-serving size allows each beer drinker at a table to select the beer he or she prefers.

As big, high-alcohol craft beers have become commonplace, many are rethinking the serving size amount. For beers 9 percent alcohol-by-volume and over, an appropriate serving size can be 6 ounces. That means, of course, that one 12 oz bottle contains two servings, which could nicely be shared between two guests at the table.

Larger bottle sizes

The larger beer bottle sizes also have their place in restaurants—right along side bottled wine. The 22 oz and 750 ml sizes are perfect for two or more people to share at the table. It's another way that craft beer is differentiated from the macro-brews. The large beer bottles make a great presentation and tend to attract attention from other tables, and this leads to more impulse sales. See the Craft Beer Restaurant article on Beer Bottle Sharing for a complete discussion of this topic.

Aluminum cans

More and more US craft breweries are offering beer in aluminum cans, both in 12 oz and 16 oz sizes. While modern cans are an excellent way to preserve beer quality, they have not yet caught on for use in better-casual and fine dining restaurants.


Bottle sizes of craft beer