Dangerous Design: The Chug-a-Mug

The Chug-A-Mug beer bottle was a popular new package in the early 1960s in part because it contained a number of seemingly useful new features. One of them, the innovative pull-tab aluminum top, worked well most of the time. But when people were not paying close attention (or perhaps were too inebriated), finger injuries caused by the cap’s sharp metal edges were common enough to be noted. Moreover, the manual dexterity required to open the Chug-a-Mug turned out to be a nuisance to people—like bartenders and wait staff—who needed to open many in succession.

Other causes, especially a series of corporate mergers, factored into the disappearance of the Chug-a-Mug (and the entire Rheingold brand) in the 1970s, but new, improved pull-tab tops on competing beverage containers also affected the bottle’s long-term decline.

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