If you like drinking craft beer in bottles, Bayern Brewing offers a fantastic way for you to support our local circular economy. Inspired by German breweries that reuse bottles up to 30 times, Bayern invested $250,000 in a bottle washing machine that can clean and sterilize 8,000 bottles per hour. They aim to reuse each bottle again and again.
The only problem is they can’t get enough bottles! Ideally, Bayern wouldn’t be buying new bottles at all. But even after reusing all the bottles they can collect, they still have to spend $120,000 a year on new bottles. Missoulians throw away many times that in craft beer bottles, so someone who loves beer could make a nice little business out of collecting bottles and bringing them “home” to Bayern!
To fit in Bayern’s machine, bottles must:
Be standard brown 12-oz. bottles
Be in good condition: no cracks or chips, no cigarette butts or other garbage inside
Be pry-off: no twist off threads
Not have any embossing on the bottle (brand names, etc.)
The majority of bottled craft beer comes in this type of bottle. Returned bottles can come from any brewery (or soda company for that matter) as long as they meet these requirements. Bayern’s machine takes the labels off, so you don’t need to worry about those.
Take your used bottles to Bayern at 1507 Montana St. and they’ll give you 5 cents each. You’ll need a reusable Bayern “Ecopack” box made of sturdy waxed cardboard that holds 24 bottles.
Each Ecopack returned will earn you another 10 cents. You can get them at participating stores, and of course at the Brewery. Ecopacks compact easily, reduce packaging costs, and close the loop on transportation containers. You can also drop off bottles for Bayern at the Republic Recycling Center on Broadway.
Cheers to Bayern for taking a leap into the economy of the future!