Steam Whistle facing "severe bottle shortage," asks for returns on empties

May 14 2020, 3:30 pm

Steam Whistle Brewing is facing a “severe bottle shortage” under the current circumstances in Ontario.

While the business has been working to give back to the community during these times — donating beer for hand sanitizer, giving away free six-packs to frontline healthcare workers and putting its delivery fleet to work for Meals on Wheels — the pause on empty returns hit them hard.

Now that many Beer Store locations across the province are back to accepting empty bottles and cans, the brewery is directly asking their customers to partake in the recycling program.

“At the beginning of this pandemic there were some issues keeping the bottle return system online,” Tim McLaughlin, vice president of marketing at Steam Whistle, said in a release.

“Now with most stores accepting returns, we strongly encourage you to bring your empties back so that we can refill them with Canada’s favourite Pure Pilsner.”

To keep everyone involved in the process safe, Steam Whistle recommends taking the following measures when returning empties:

1. Rinse and organize your empties at home
2. Upon arrival, collect a cart — they’re sanitized after each use
3. Sort and separate your empties using the black totes provided — separate wine and spirits bottles from beer bottles, sort beer bottles by brown, clear and green glass and separate the cans. Where possible, return your beer empties in their original cardboard case
4. While waiting in the designated empties return line, practice physical distancing by staying two metres away from other people

The empties return program makes the province’s beer sector a leader in recycling and reusing materials. An estimated 96% of all beer bottles sold in Ontario are returned, rendering them reusable.

For a list of Beer Store locations that are receiving empties, check out this list or visit

Kayla GladyszKayla Gladysz

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