There’s something satisfying about drinking an ice cold Windhoek beer straight out of the bottle. And just like the golden liquid, there’s a lot more to the glistening green bottle than meets the eye. Yes it is sleek, sexy and just about as green as the Springbok rugby jersey, but why?
According to Anton Twigg, the Windhoek Global Marketing Manager, “the previous bottle shape for Windhoek Lager and Windhoek Light had been around for about 10 years. Windhoek was in fact one of the first brands in South Africa that moved away from the short dumpy-shaped bottles to the long-necked bottle that has come to define the premium beer category. I think the rationale behind this shape is that the longer neck speaks more to ‘sophistication’ than masculinity, and has become a passport factor for any beers that want to play in the premium category. The latest Lager and Light bottles, launched in 2016, retain the long neck but have a broader shoulder and base, with a large de-bossed W in in place of Windhoek. The paper labels have been replaced by premium pressure-sensitive plastic labels that hug the glass and won't come off in your cooler box”.
Following up, Windhoek Draught was the first in South Africa to go with the “broad shoulder, narrowed waist” shape – a trend that many other brands have subsequently followed. The intention was to create a strong, masculine shaped bottle that was still distinctive from all the others.
Since its introduction, Windhoek Draught has always been delivered to your lips in the exact same bottle, which is testament to the fact that Windhoek got the shape right. The only thing to have changed on the latest Draught bottle is the de-bossing on the front and back. But what of the dark green colour of the glass?
“At Windhoek the most important thing for us is the quality of the beer,” explains Anton. “Our beer contains only three ingredients – malted barley, hops and water – there are no preservatives, additives, or chemicals. As this is a completely natural product it also means it is particularly sensitive to environmental factors such as heat or light. If a natural beer like Windhoek is exposed to sunlight it very quickly develops a condition called “light-struck”, which gives it a “wet cardboard” taste and smell. In order to minimise the impact of light we have opted for the darkest green glass possible. The colour of the glass is specially formulated to minimise the impact that UV rays and sunlight have on the beer.”
We all know the importance of recycling, and this also factors into the bottle equation. It’s highly likely that the Windhoek bottle you just finished has been used, cleaned and refilled three or four times before you got to it. And if Windhoek has anything to do with it, it’ll get cleaned, filled and used again.
“We encourage consumers to recycle their glass and we have a very sophisticated recycling processes in place at the brewery to minimise the impact we have on the environment,” says Anton.
So next time you crack open a bottle of Windhoek beer, take a moment to appreciate the technologically advanced, recyclable and user-friendly bottle your favourite beer is served in.