In 1892 a metal cap lined with paper on the inside saw the light of day – and has not disappeared ever since. While the previously used bottle stoppers were generally made of cork becoming crumbly and permeable to air over long storage periods William Painter’s new invention prevented the content of the bottle leaking or it coming into contact with the metal cap or the air thanks to a thin ring of cork. The characteristic teeth round the edge of the cap ensured not only an even distribution of air but also prevented potential breakage when pressing the bottle neck. It was primarily the shape of the practical innovation that gave it its name: “crown cork”.
Over the years ...
… the crown cork basically remained true to itself. Nevertheless, numerous further developments and modifications of this so important packaging component followed and the use of special machinery over time also facilitated its production.
The twist-off crown cork: a quick way for thirsty drinkers to get to their beverage without the need of a bottle opener.
Special editions: numerous drinks brands, of both beer and soft drinks, recognised the value of the metal cap and made it into a highly coveted design and collectors’ item with unusual special editions.
Crown corks with sound: Berlin sound designers made it their job to make the opening of a crown cork a real experience – thereby allowing customers to differentiate between low budget and high-end products. The sound of the so-called “Champaign” is reminiscent of the sound made when opening a Champagne bottle. Though the liquid in the bottle is of the amber nectar variety!
A crown cork from the 2014 World Cup auctioned on eBay for an incredible Euro 423. The popular item made of metal was a special edition of the Bitburger Fan Force One Costa Rica Crown Cork. Photo: Bitburger
Special systems ensure absolute hygiene in the sealing process. This is because the requirements for microbiological safety are high, as Manfred Härtel, Product Manager Filling at KHS, also knows: “The closure unit is a critical element because it always has to operate in an environment with beer residue. This is an operational challenge.” The new crown cork closing unit at KHS was further developed; hygiene safety standards were therefore increased and, at the same time, cleaning times were cut.
When applying closures to bottles – just like when bottling – preventing oxygen entering the bottle is key. This is because oxidation could alter the taste of the drink and shorten its shelf life. Using special camera and laser technology it is not only possible to check the label is on properly but also that the crown cork is firmly sealed.
Easy to open: Heineken Twist-off crown corks.
A passion for collecting leads to production of practical magnets.
Some crown corks even give you the chance to win a car. Shame if it causes arguments among friends that ultimately lead to a court case, as with five friends in Hesse recently.