Dismiss Notice
Subscribe to BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99! (Limited time offer, US delivery only)

Bottle Share Etiquette

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by Siggy125, Jan 24, 2013.

  1. Siggy125

    Siggy125 Devotee (457) Nov 10, 2006 California
    Beer Trader

    I heard of a little drama at a bottle share recently where someone removed a bottle from a big plastic ice tub in the middle of the room, popped it open and began pouring it with others. The bottle was not one that he brought. The person that brought the bottle was a little miffed at this.

    If I placed a bottle out in the open for all to enjoy, I don't think I'd get bent over someone else opening it. However, if I had a very special bottle tucked away in my own bottle bag, I wouldnt appreciate it someone went digging and cracked it open.

    What are your thoughts on this? Is there any type of prescribed bottle share etiquette somewhere?
    neenerzig and Rainblows like this.
  2. Tballz420

    Tballz420 Meyvn (1,187) Mar 4, 2003 Minnesota

    Its just part of human psychology - if someone brings something for others to enjoy, they want the recognition that they are the ones responsible
    dianimal, yemenmocha, bens0n and 27 others like this.
  3. jasonmason

    jasonmason Initiate (171) Oct 6, 2004 California

    I think it's pretty simple: only open the bottles you brought. If you want to open a bottle that you didn't bring, ask the person that brought it.

    Isn't this the kind of stuff that's taught in kindergarten?
  4. bryanole27

    bryanole27 Aspirant (227) Jun 24, 2011 North Carolina

    Exactly. This is like 'acting like a human' 101. I would be pretty miffed too honestly. It's simple manners.
  5. Lutter

    Lutter Initiate (0) Jun 30, 2010 Texas

    We don't open a bunch of beers at once. You hand a beer you brought to the pourer, he pours it for everyone *drink* then repeat.

    I would never grab someone elses' beer, open it and start passing it around without permission. That's rude.
    neenerzig, BrettHead, Gear54 and 16 others like this.
  6. xnicknj

    xnicknj Initiate (0) May 25, 2009 Pennsylvania

    If it's not mine, I don't open it without asking. This goes for my friends that I've had since I was 10 years old to complete strangers at bottle releases. Common courtesy.
  7. Revenant

    Revenant Aspirant (280) Aug 8, 2012 Minnesota

    Are you guys serious? It's a bottle of beer. :sunglasses: I mean it's not like a swinger party where some guy just grabs your wife and starts going to town, right?
    neenerzig, Boca-X, tzach and 13 others like this.
  8. Johnnyramirez

    Johnnyramirez Initiate (0) Nov 17, 2012 California

    Went to a bottle share Sunday. We didn't have a pourer or anything but we basically handed it to the person who brought it since they were all laid out in the center. The person who brought it opened it and he poured it for everyone in his range then passed it to someone else to pour for the rest of the group. But we absolutely did not open a bottle that wasnt our own. It's just common courtesy. Yeah, we were egging some to open their bottles but we didn't open it nor did we force them to open it. Once everyone got a pour the remains were a free for all. But to open someone else's bottle without permission is rude
  9. ridglens

    ridglens Initiate (0) Jan 10, 2010 Indiana

    Depending on the beer, i would probably want to open and pour myself. It might be because of greediness that i want to "get credit for it", but i would like to think it's kind of like mailing someone a gift vs giving it to them. The enjoyment i get out of personally sharing, seeing enjoyment, etc., is really what it's all about and what convinces me most often to bring tough to find beers! It it nice to be thanked? Sure, but i honestly get much more enjoyment out of pouring people beers they thought they would never try/etc. and seeing them get excited. I've been there, I've been poured a taste of an "i-can't-get-this" whale, and it's pretty exciting, i like paying that forward to others.

    Regardless of the motivation, though, i would never open someone else's bottle, at least without asking (and depending on the beer/person, i probably wouldn't even ask!). that being said, unless that bottle was a monster/major part of the tasting, i probably wouldn't cause too much drama if someone cracked one of mine that i was planning on opening anyway, i'd just keep my miffedness to myself and enjoy the beer!
  10. bifrost17

    bifrost17 Initiate (0) Dec 16, 2011 Washington

    I'd be a little annoyed as well. Was the dude already drunk when he opened the bottle that didn't belong to him?
  11. FTowne

    FTowne Initiate (0) Jan 27, 2012 Missouri

    On the topic of bottle shares:

    Do you go to enjoy the company of others as well as trying new/great beer or do you put your game face on and get pissy when people aren't drinking their pour fast enough so that you can tick the next whale?
    cck5, rather, Bung and 2 others like this.
  12. leedorham

    leedorham Crusader (701) Apr 27, 2006 Washington

    Maybe we can get some grown ups to chime in on this thread and help us decide.


    I guess it's natural to be a little miffed if you were looking to impress a bunch of people, but if that were the case then you should have offered it up for pouring right away.

    Apathy is the real solution here.
    sharpski, 1000lbgrizzly, Bung and 6 others like this.
  13. Johnnyramirez

    Johnnyramirez Initiate (0) Nov 17, 2012 California

    New great beer and enjoy other like minded people's company. Taste the beer, discuss it, joke around, eat some food, drink water to cleanse our palates and repeat with the next beer. No one is rushed at all
    Bung, AnnArborJoe, ehammond1 and 2 others like this.
  14. quirkzoo

    quirkzoo Initiate (0) Jul 7, 2011 Colorado

    I think it is common courtesy to at least ask before opening a bottle that someone else brought. I think simply asking "Hey can we open up the Wooden Hell next?" would be the best route. But I also believe that if someone brought a bottle to a bottle share, that they should be okay when said bottle gets shared.
  15. geocool

    geocool Initiate (175) Jun 21, 2006 Massachusetts

    I think it is a violation of the etiquette of the event, but to make a big deal out of it would be just as bad. A "normal" party often features coolers full of beer and it goes without saying that guests should help themselves. This is a different kind of event, but it can sometimes be tricky to adjust, or to remember that the rules are now different. I am quite sure that this is not taught in kindergarten, and it is not "acting like a human 101," it's a much more advanced class.
    drtth, 5thOhio, smitherz22 and 2 others like this.
  16. StylzMC

    StylzMC Initiate (0) Dec 15, 2012 Yukon (Canada)

    never being to one of these things, i had a dream about it a few weeks back... someone opened a bottle of beer i had brought and never had before... they opened, poured for everyone else and i didnt know until the bottle was gone. I was pretty pissed and the guy said to me "welcome to beer nerds." While i'm not accusing, it was pretty funny... But in the end, I wouldn't open a beer i didnt bring... seems a bit rude.
  17. Brandywine

    Brandywine Initiate (0) Aug 20, 2012 Washington

    Yes it's only a bottle of beer but it's also simple courtesy to ask first. I might be annoyed but if it was something really special I wouldn't toss it in a tub in the middle of the room.
    AdmiralOzone and ShaBizzle like this.
  18. Providence

    Providence Initiate (0) Feb 24, 2010 Rhode Island

    I have never been to a bottle share, but if I were to go, I can't imagine I would open anything I didn't bring.
  19. carteravebrew

    carteravebrew Zealot (504) Jan 21, 2010 Colorado

    But, not unlike the OP's situation, wouldn't it be extended (oops, Freudian slip) expected at a swinger party for someone else to start thowing down on your wife? Isn't that what you went there for? To share?

    I don't know. It's been awhile since my last swinger party.
    AdmiralOzone, Revenant and Siggy125 like this.
  20. afrothunder

    afrothunder Initiate (0) Jan 4, 2013 New York

    Somewhat irrelevant, but reading this suddenly made me recall an episode from kindergarten. Our teacher had asked us to bring some autumn related items to decorate our classroom with. Over the weekend, my mother and a few friends went on a hiking trip. I ended up collecting a whole bag full of rustic leaves and proudly brought them to class on Monday. We were sitting around in our customary positions in a circle as the teacher was going over who brought what item. When the time came to my bag of leaves, as soon as she asked for who brought it, a random boy raised his hand and started shouting "ME!!!". I couldn't believe it. Even at that age, I was flabbergasted and became very angry. We had a policy of not speaking until we got called out for raising our hand in class. But my teacher simply told me to put my hand down and be quiet while all the fame and glory went to my thunder stealing classmate.... :slight_frown:

    Now we're adults and things are still the same.. No, in all honesty though, the guy who opened it didn't probably even realize it was a beer of value that this person brought to the party. He was just probably drunk and looking for the next thing to drink and share with others. I highly doubt he was intentionally trying to claim it for his own, but can still understand why the person who initially brought the bottle would be upset.
  21. LeRose

    LeRose Meyvn (1,179) Nov 24, 2011 Massachusetts
    Supporter Subscriber

    Maybe people should establish the ground rules first at these things? Just seems to make sense to me. Either one person opens and pours for all, or each individual opens and pours what they brought to share. But in a group setting where the intent is to share the beer, it's a tough call whether it is really rude or not. What it actually sounds like is someone's ego was bruised because they weren't recognized.

    The implication of the event is that beers are going to be opened and shared, discussed, etc. So - have a little chat beforehand on how it should go down. Seems simple enough for the host (or even the group) to agree how it should roll up front. Pot luck - whatever gets opened gets shared whenever. Host opens - well, it's their event and their plan. The real affront to me would be everyone not getting to taste each beer - that would be bad manners no matter how the event was organized, IMHO.

    Thinking about it, I would prefer it to be "run what ya brung" as we say at the race track, so if you brought it you open and serve. It might be a pretty arbitrary personal feeling, but it would enhance the experience for me (never having been to one of these things) to open whatever I brought in the sense of personal sharing (referring to ridglens post). But if the format were different, I don't think I would get warped about somebody else opening and serving as long as everybody gets to taste. You are gonna chat anyway - if it is that important to say "I brought that XYZ" and tell the story of capturing Moby Dick, the opportunity would present itself.

    To me, the big plastic tub almost implies free choice by whomever. Thinking of some of our family type events, whatever we put in the coolers is up for grabs and it will be a mixed bag. Whatever is on the side table is not - offered to all interested, but sort of controlled at least a little. Nobody raids the hosts personal stash either - look but don't touch kind of thing - but if you spot something you want to try, we open 'er up. But without us "establishing the boundaries" up front, who would know? And it wasn't a big thing, it just kind of evolved.
    AdmiralOzone likes this.
  22. BleepBloopBlap

    BleepBloopBlap Initiate (59) Aug 19, 2011 Massachusetts

    At least it wasn't a "big salad."
    thomda11, jdb288, pknyc and 9 others like this.
  23. DelMontiac

    DelMontiac Initiate (0) Oct 22, 2010 Oklahoma

    I prefer to open the bottles I bring and I would not open bottles that others brought. That's just me - maybe a Southern thing. I didn't let another kid present my show and tell item when I was in grade school either.
    JonathanC, AdmiralOzone and Azzy like this.
  24. Hanzo

    Hanzo Initiate (0) Feb 27, 2012 Virginia

    There's really nothing to discuss here, opening someone elses beer without their permission is not cool.
  25. PackPride

    PackPride Initiate (0) Oct 31, 2011 North Carolina

    I would have taken it and THROWN IT ON THE GROUNNNNNNDDD!!!!!
  26. BTPete

    BTPete Devotee (460) Jan 28, 2009 New York
    Beer Trader

    Not a huge deal but it is common courtesy. I have never opened someone else's bottle at a bottle share. It isn't a drinking party with a kiddie pool full of Utica Club.
    pknyc and AdmiralOzone like this.
  27. sil1

    sil1 Aspirant (227) May 19, 2012 California
    Beer Trader

    Has anyone had a situation where there is no one designated to poar, and have some people grossly overpoaring beer they didn't bring ? I thought it was pretty fucken rude, I mean it's a tasting.
  28. BILF

    BILF Initiate (0) Jan 9, 2010 Israel

    You don't light someone else's joint unless invited. You don't catch someone else's wave unless they call you onto it. You don't
    Feed someone else's dog. You don't comandeer the hosts BBQ tongs. You don't get busted staring at your mate's wife.

    And you sure as fuck don't open someone else's beer.
  29. krl2112

    krl2112 Crusader (719) Nov 10, 2012 Illinois
    Beer Trader

    Agreed. Plus it is just polite to ask when not sure. Better to be safe than sorry IMO.
    AdmiralOzone likes this.
  30. devlishdamsel

    devlishdamsel Initiate (0) Aug 1, 2009 Washington

    i guess it depends. if i brought something commonplace i probably could care less ( even if it was rude and i certainly would never open a bottle without permission ). However if it was something rare, i probably wouldn't be too happy.
    AdmiralOzone likes this.
  31. beercollector

    beercollector Initiate (0) Jan 31, 2005 Oregon

    Don't think there are absolutes here. Several of us have beer tastings. Recently we did the Stone Vertical Epic 03.03.03 to 12.12.12. We had designated pourers, there were taster glasses for each one for each person tasting. Once everyone had their set and had finished, then any remaining bottles opened or closed were free game. At other tastings w/o a designated person to pour, then the host establishes the ground rules. finally, at summer parties, it's clear that the cooler full of beer or the outdoors beer fridge are free game. If you have somethimng special you bring a separate cooler for yourself. If you don't know the rules or the host doesn't post. Ask.
    AdmiralOzone likes this.
  32. Johnnyramirez

    Johnnyramirez Initiate (0) Nov 17, 2012 California

    Yep. 2 guys showed up to a tasting, didn't bring any beer at all but knew a guy there who actually left really early. Kept over pouring beer and finally one of the other guys decided to pour for them when we got to the pricier beers. He even told them "this is a $40 bottle of beer, once everyone gets some you can get more" when they looked at him like he was being stingy with the beer. They left soon after. Didn't speak to a single person there after their friend left, but still overpoured on everything.
    argock likes this.
  33. sil1

    sil1 Aspirant (227) May 19, 2012 California
    Beer Trader

    Yea it pissed me off, everyone had tasting glasses and they for some reason thought they were special and had regular size glasses,I didn't know them.. But my buddy did. I went over and told them "u know this is a fucking tasting right" both looked at me pissed and didn't say shit.
  34. ant880

    ant880 Initiate (0) Nov 7, 2010 New York

    This is the most ambitious #2 post by a member in the history of Beer Advocate...I like the cut of your jib kid, I've got my eye on you.
  35. proseberry

    proseberry Initiate (0) May 2, 2008 Illinois

    Hey. Swingers do not just grab and go to town. They MUST be invited by the respective party(ies) to join in. In my circle, whoever brings the bottle usually presents it and opens/pours it. Just our way. Thanks.
    AdmiralOzone likes this.
  36. RDMII

    RDMII Disciple (350) Apr 11, 2010 Georgia

    This is one of the reasons I don't attend many bottle tastings. Too many people beating their chest about what they brought being better than everyone else's, or people literally talking shit about lesser beers. I don't fly around the World weekly, so I can't bring shit that no one has ever heard of.

    Secondly, the "we all get the same amount except for the cooler people, they get double" mentality. Someone is always going to think the beer they brought should be consumed by them only, or hoarded away for only the people they want to share with. And someone else will always try and snag beers from others since they brought lesser stuff.

    Hell with that. If I'm sharing a bottle, which I rarely do with anyone, I want it to be a tension free, relaxed, enjoyable time.
    Rutager, mikeburd1128 and Bung like this.
  37. cbeer88

    cbeer88 Crusader (719) Sep 5, 2007 Massachusetts

    Are some of you just having parties with good beer? i.e. a gathering where anybody can show up and drink the beer and people bring friends?

    Any bottle share I've ever done is highly controlled, small guest list, and often some of the bottles are predetermined in advance. I can't fathom anybody just blindly opening a bottle at a bottle share without the owner of said bottle being well aware it is about to happen.
    quetzal013 and nanobrew like this.
  38. mecummins

    mecummins Initiate (0) Nov 16, 2012 Illinois

    I've never been to one of these. Are they usually made up of strangers/ acquaintances or of people who know each other somewhat? Because yes, I would think it incredible rude to open a bottle that didn't belong to me if I was at an event where there was a certain formality to it. But if it was a Sunday afternoon with a group of friends, I probably wouldn't let it bother me one bit. Very different situations.
    gpawned and MarkIntihar like this.
  39. jsilva

    jsilva Initiate (0) Nov 10, 2009 Massachusetts

    In my best Chris Tucker voice " Dont ever touch a black mans radio" aka "Dont ever open someone elses beer." Sounds like tomfoolery to me. If your coming to a tasting you better have been invited and bring a few bottles to share.
    gkatsoris likes this.
  40. Pittsky

    Pittsky Initiate (0) May 28, 2009 Florida
    Beer Trader

    my thoughts on it is you don't touch stuff that isn't yours...i dont care if it's in the middle of the room, the side of a room, on the floor....if some random drunk dude i dont know walks up to my stuff and just casually takes a beer of mine out and walks off with it, i'm saying something. i dont care how drunk he is. if im familiar with you it's fine.

    i dont see whats wrong with getting recogniztion for bringing a nice bottle for people to share....i enjoy doing nice things for people and it doesnt suck to get recognized for it. it makes you feel good. if you dont get recognition it's all good too. i'm a police officer, believe me, im used to it. lol
    Bluecane likes this.
  • About Us

    Founded in Boston in 1996, BeerAdvocate (BA) is your go-to resource for beer powered by an independent community of enthusiasts and professionals dedicated to supporting and promoting better beer.

    Learn More
  • Our Community

    Comprised of consumers and industry professionals, many of whom started as members of this site, our community is one of the oldest, largest, and most respected beer communities online.
  • Our Events

    Since 2003 we've hosted over 60 world-class beer festivals to bring awareness to independent brewers and educate attendees.
  • Our Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.