Your local liquor store features three types of beer bottles. There are clear beer bottles, brown beer bottles and green beer bottles. The two most common types of beer bottles use either brown glass or green glass. What is the difference between green and brown beer bottles?
The truth it, in 2017, there is no difference. All beer bottles in 2017 are manufactured with glass that protects the contents of the bottle from UV light but UV light was the initial reason for different colors of glass.
After brewers determined that glass bottles were the best way to serve and preserve their beer, brewers started pouring their beer into clear bottles. The problem with clear bottles was that if the bottles were exposed to the sun and UV light, it would lead to skunky beer in the bottle.
This effect led to many brewers changing from clear beer bottles to brown beer bottles to help protect against the UV light.
However, brown glass became so popular that it became rare at the time and several European brewers were forced to continue using clear glass, until the idea to use green glass occurred to them. The shortage was also related to WWII.
The green glass the European breweries chose didn’t do as good of a job at blocking UV light as brown glass did, but it made the European beers appear fancier than the beers in clear bottles. You could say that green beer bottles served more of a marketing purpose where as brown beer bottles served more of a functional purpose.
In 2017, all beer bottles are safe from UV light, including clear bottles such as Corona or High Life. Despite that fact, it is still recommended that you store your beer bottles in your refrigerator, cooler or a dark and cool place in your home such as your cellar or basement.
Home brewers should feel free to use clear glass beer bottles, green glass beer bottles or brown glass bottles when bottling their brews from their own recipes as it will not impact the flavor or aroma of the beer assuming the bottles are stored properly.