Are large format bottles done?

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by Errto, Nov 18, 2023.

  1. Errto

    Errto Zealot (643) Oct 20, 2009 Connecticut

    So I'm attending a reception type thing later and other people are bringing various bottles of wine and I thought I'd bring some nice beer. Back in "the day" (ie about 10 years ago) I had events like this more often, and I'd stop by my local store and get a bottle of something (usually) Belgian/Belgian-style, like say, Three Philosophers or Brooklyn Local 1 or 2, along those lines. Nothing exotic, but not just like a six-pack of whatever either.

    So I went looking this morning to see what I could find and was shocked about how few options there were. The first place I stopped had only a Bruery sour something or other (I was surprised the Bruery even distributed here, honestly), and the second had only two choices: La Fin du Monde or Chimay Blue. Better than nothing, certainly, but a bit disappointing.

    Is this normal nowadays? What changed? Or is my memory of a wider range of options just nostalgia for something that never existed?
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  2. Errto

    Errto Zealot (643) Oct 20, 2009 Connecticut

    Hm. Just searching around this forum I'm seeing some mentions of the "death of bombers". I guess that's the same thing I'm asking about (though I remember some debates about what exact sizes could be considered a "bomber"). Is that a thing? If so, when did it happen and why? I guess I missed it...
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  3. Shanex

    Shanex Grand Pooh-Bah (4,324) Dec 10, 2015 France
    Regional Mod Pooh-Bah Society Trader

    If there were previously debates/discussions about what makes a bomber, I’m thinking it varies according to such and such advocates.

    I’m almost certain 750ml big bottles are bombers. Some set the bar lower and anything bigger than 500ml was, too. IDK.

    We have plenty of options for such format here but very much Belgian ones like the Chimay you mentioned, Duvel and other iconic brands. German beers for instance generally are tall and slim 500ml bottles.

    Is that disappearing in America?
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  4. Errto

    Errto Zealot (643) Oct 20, 2009 Connecticut

    Fair enough. yeah I meant USA, and I guess my part of the USA specifically though I'd be curious to know if it was a regional phenomenon.
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  5. BBThunderbolt

    BBThunderbolt Grand High Pooh-Bah (7,232) Sep 24, 2007 Kiribati
    Pooh-Bah Trader

    'Bombers' was always such a dumb term.

    But yeah, large format bottles are nowhere near as prevalent as they used to be. A lot have switched over to12oz bottle (like Abyss), so maybe grab a 4/6 pack of one of those?
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  6. zid

    zid Grand Pooh-Bah (3,046) Feb 15, 2010 New York
    Pooh-Bah Society Trader


    In the US, the situation with craft 22oz bombers is drastically different now. What was once ubiquitous is now practically gone. 750ml Belgian imports are still around (thank God... and your best bet for what you are looking for), but the level of variety is much lower now. 750ml US beers designed to resemble Belgian beer in some form are still around but much rarer in stores compared to the past (it's probably easier to find such options fresh at breweries than stores... but antique beers collecting dust on a store shelf are another story). The other day I came across some old 750s of Celebrator and was struck by how attractive the packaging was:

  7. HoppingMadMonk

    HoppingMadMonk Grand Pooh-Bah (4,647) Mar 3, 2017 New Jersey
    Pooh-Bah Society Trader

    I really like the the 750 bottle for certain events,especially for what you're attempting to do.
    Day to day though im less of a fan and I guess others are starting to feel the same
    As @BBThunderbolt stated 4 packs seem to be the replacement format
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  8. dcotom

    dcotom Grand Pooh-Bah (5,373) Aug 4, 2014 Iowa
    Pooh-Bah Society Trader

    Seems like you should be able to find a lambic or a gueuze from 3 Fonteinen somewhere. It's available here, and this isn't exactly a beer mecca. As to the larger question, I don't believe the large format corked & caged / wax-sealed "fancy" bottles are going anywhere any time soon, at least as far as imports are concerned. We still see quite a few of these. As far as bombers are concerned, good riddance.

    I'd recommend 3F Oude Geuze Cuvée Armand & Gaston, if you can find it.
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  9. Prager62

    Prager62 Grand Pooh-Bah (4,076) May 7, 2010 Colorado
    Pooh-Bah Trader

    Out here in Colorado it's 500ml at 750ml prices or higher. Quality bottle purchases are killing beer budgets. Especially for us retired folks!:grimacing: Happy hunting......:beers:
  10. Hockeyguy

    Hockeyguy Initiate (109) Jul 9, 2021 Texas

    8-10 years ago here in the DFW area I carried easily 18-24 different 750ml beers. From Belgians to La Fin... to Boulevard to Southern Tier get the picture. I sold them aplenty. They disappeared fairly rapidly, as my distros just quit carrying them. It's too bad, because the market was good for them. Now I am only carrying Duvel and Chimay. Otherwise, I'm in 19.2 hoppy hell.
  11. GlenFarclas

    GlenFarclas Zealot (574) Oct 1, 2021 Connecticut

    In CT I think 750s have really been taken out mercilessly by 4x16oz freshies. Like everything brewed at 12percent. That’s what I see in fridges at most places. Some time machines still carrying old bombers. I always quite enjoyed grabbing those on occasion. Pity
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  12. draheim

    draheim Grand Pooh-Bah (4,181) Sep 18, 2010 Washington

    First, let’s not equate 22oz bombers with 750mL bottles—the volume is similar but the message they send couldn’t be more different.

    But yes, I think the OP is right, the age of the corked/caged (i.e., “classy”) 750mL bottle is on the wane. And we are all the lesser for it.
  13. champ103

    champ103 Grand Pooh-Bah (5,682) Sep 3, 2007 Texas
    Pooh-Bah Society

    I can still find Saison Dupont in 750 ml bottles. That would be my go to for this kind of thing. Boulevard's Saison Brett use to be that...but I don't think that is made anymore :slight_frown:
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  14. Beer_Economicus

    Beer_Economicus Pooh-Bah (2,422) Apr 8, 2017 Ohio
    Pooh-Bah Trader

    The two “bomber” sizes were 22oz, which was very standard, and then a “true” bomber, or maybe what you’d call an imperial bomber, which is 25.2oz = 750ml
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  15. Giantspace

    Giantspace Pooh-Bah (2,817) Dec 22, 2011 Pennsylvania

    Bomber =22oz

    I still see 750 bottles but baby of them also come in smaller formats at a much better price/ounce.

    I dont think I have bought a dozen 750 bottles in the last 5-6 years. Prior I bought many.

    The 19.2 can is the new bomber but the big differences are 19.2 is much better priced and 19.2 is mostly main stream high ABV beers. Main stream being not one off or hard to find beers like 22oz used to be.

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  16. zid

    zid Grand Pooh-Bah (3,046) Feb 15, 2010 New York
    Pooh-Bah Society Trader

    This is one of my favorite beers, and for me, Saison Dupont in the other packaging formats in the US falls short in ways that go beyond romance and presentation. If the 750 stopped coming here, I think it would be a big loss.
  17. Shanex

    Shanex Grand Pooh-Bah (4,324) Dec 10, 2015 France
    Regional Mod Pooh-Bah Society Trader

    Also one of my favorite beer all things considered. Not to make you jealous or envious but this was taken in northern France last summer. You read that right. 4,50€ for a 750ml bottle of Saison DuPont:

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  18. jesskidden

    jesskidden Pooh-Bah (2,981) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey
    Pooh-Bah Society Trader

    The nickname "bomber" was typically applied to long-neck larger bottles of 20-24 ounces. The original 22 ounce bottles were popular briefly in the western US during WWII (since they used less glass and metal per ounce of beer) and the size was revived in the 1980s, initially by foreign brewers who used a variety of sizes.


    As @zid notes, the 750 ml. bottles, sometimes champagne-shaped, sometimes corked and caged, were usually not considered "bombers".
  19. bbtkd

    bbtkd Grand High Pooh-Bah (7,326) Sep 20, 2015 South Dakota
    Pooh-Bah Society Trader

    22/25 oz 'bombers' have been shelf-turding here for the past five years. One store I frequent had an aisle dedicated to that format, but over the past couple of years they sold most of them off at discount. Another store still has perhaps six different ones. Other stores haven't had them for years. Few brewers make them anymore, and I'm good with that. Ironically I dig stovepipes, which are only slightly smaller... :rolling_eyes:
  20. MostlyNorwegian

    MostlyNorwegian Pooh-Bah (1,850) Feb 5, 2013 Illinois

    What the 4 pack pounder cans didn't do to the bomber market. Stovepipe cans did. Bombers weigh a lot. Cans do not. Any self respecting self distributing brewery took a hard look at the numbers level of how much they could carry and how much it cost to do so. There was also a range of mobile canning operations that accommodated this emerging market. And away they went.