So I’ve spent the last few weeks working as a merchandiser for a beer distributer in New Braunfels. For a glimpse at my handiwork, take a look at this:
There is something really satisfying about filling a cooler case to the brim. In fact, I think there is a lot of satisfaction in completing tangible tasks in general. Being able to see the empty spot on the shelf and fill it is about as tangible and straightforward as it gets.
A side note before we continue. I think that we as a society need to be more appreciative of the blue-collar worker. These people are real American heroes. They put there bodies and minds to work everyday for us and don’t often receive any of the spotlight they deserve. And I’m not just saying this because I I’m working where I am now, I’m saying this because it’s the truth. America was built by the hands of the working man.
Anyway, the point of this post isn’t to go on a rant or anything. I want to share with you some of the beer-slingin’ lingo that I’ve learned so far.
Case – A case refers to a package of twenty-four beers, regardless of packaging. This is important to know from a distributing standpoint because the product, whether it comes in divisions of 6, 12, or 24 units, there are (with the exception of 18-packs and the 9- and 15-packs of aluminum pint cans) always 24 beers in a case.
4×6 – A case of beer, divided into 4 six-packs. Some products come in a 6×4 (6 four-packs) but, again, 24 in a case.
24 loose – The refers to the cases of loose bottles that are typically ordered by bars or restaurants that don’t require the 6-pack division and come in brown cardboard boxes versus the eye-catching packaging of the..
High-Gloss – They also have 24 loose bottles, but the packaging is geared toward the customer so it’s more visually appealing.
Flats – The cardboard trays that hold two 12-packs of bottles during shipping/storage. In the industry, you referring to both of the 12-packs together as one case because, you guessed it, there are 24 beers in a case.
Suitcase (or just Suit) – Twenty-four cans. Looks like a suitcase.
Fridge pack – Twelve cans.
Tall boys – 16 oz. cans, usually ringed together as six- or four-pack units. Not to be confused with the 24 or 32 ounce singles which go by several names, depending on the brand (King cans, Crushers, Big Boys, etc.).
Ponies – There are some people in the game who mistakenly refer to 12 oz. cans as “ponies.” Pony cans or bottles are less than 12 oz. (i.e. 7.5 oz. High Life bottles or Coronitas, or the 6-8 oz domestic beer cans).
Hitchhiker – This is actually the one that inspired me to write this post. A hitchhiker is a bottle from a 6-pack of bottles in a case that gets caught on the 6-pack that you are pulling out of the box. This is one of the leading causes of frustration for me because a lot of times that bottle is going to fall on the ground and break or pop its top and spray everywhere, making a substantial mess and taking the rest of the six-pack out of the game.
– – – –
There are a ton of other industry terms, but I thought it would be cool to share this with you, Dear Reader. If you’d like to learn more about the beer industry, which I recommend to beer-drinkers around the world, check out the incredibly informative documentary Beer Wars, which delves into the historical, social, cultural, economic, legal, etc. aspects of beer, especially in America.
P.S. – Please drink responsibly.