Heineken Beer Bottle Bricks

July 10th, 2006

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Along the lines of our Book Bar, this 1950s design for stackable beer bottles was the brainchild of Alfred Heineken, of beer fame.

As the story goes, Heineken was strolling along by the sea in Jamaica, and was shocked at the number of beer bottles littering the beach. He was also concerned with the lack of cheap building materials, and at the resulting living conditions for the poor. Putting two and two together, he envisioned a “World Bottle” which would be imported for drinking but kept for construction.

A 10’ x 10’ shack would take approximately 1000 bottles to build, but the Jamaican tourist industry would likely supply plenty. In addition, glass (and air) are good insulators, though the humid and hot Jamaican climate may not require insulation per se. A unique feature was that the short bottle neck would fit into a depression in the bottom of each bottle. Ultimately though, the idea was either (according to different accounts) voted down by the Heineken board, or vetoed by the bottle companies and the customers. Not much information is available on the World Bottle today, but there have been other attempts to make interlocking “bottle bricks”, even of plastic.

Link to an article on Heineken (the man, not the beer) at the BBC website.

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