So a weird debate we had on the road this last trip was which bottle top is better, screw top or cork top? Pointless, right? We thought so too…initially. Then we kept deliberating for a while and actually brought up some valid points and criticisms for both methods of preventing that glorious juice from spilling out of the bottle. Which begs the question, is there really a significant difference between screw top or cork top lids?
This whole debacle originally stemmed from an aesthetics debate. Which of these two methods looks better, more elegant, cheaper etc.? Then we got to thinking about qualities past just purely based on looks like function and sustainability. Ultimately starting from an offhand comment about Weller having both screw and pop tops, it ended up a commentary of our thoughts on environmental sustainability and the je ne sais quoi of design. And to answer the question I’m sure is in your mind right now, yes the consumption of alcohol was involved in this process.
Cork tops or pop tops. Classic, centuries old, and a fixture in every minds eye of the traditional glass alcohol bottle. There’s something undeniable about the aural stimulation you get from popping open the top of a cork cap. It’s supremely satisfying and tickles some peoples fancy down to their very core (looking at you here Greg). This is definitely the biggest pro for me in this completely unnecessary competition of pros and cons. Cork is also a renewable natural resource which is a positive as well. However, it is the more expensive option of the two. Cork can also be a pain to open up if improperly sized and is much easier to break or damage. Aesthetically, cork wins the day most likely hands down in the majority of opinions. Even so, let’s hold off declaring a winner before we’ve even taken a look at screw tops.
Screw tops or twist tops. You know em’. You love em’. found as the primary method for securing damn near anything with a lid on it. A major pro for this is its ubiquity in its field. Take a look around where you are right now. I can almost with 100% certainty guarantee that you’ll find more screw top lids than corks securing contents inside of vessels. A titan of functionality. You know when a screw top is secured and it will hold the contents of your container securely in place. Something you don’t always get with cork as it has the ability to leak, tear or even explode. As someone who has left a corked bottle in their car on a hot summer day, I can vouch for the potential of cork eruption.
As for the aesthetic allure of the screw top…well there isn’t much of it. It’s mainly designed for functional prowess and exceeds in that department. You do get that nice metallic popping sound from breaking the seal on the bottle, but that is a one time deal. It’s nowhere near as satisfying of an experience of the cork pop and non-repeatable.
The most important pro however, comes from the actual creation of the screw top lid. In 1889, Dan Rynalds patented the screw cap lid SPECIFICALLY FOR WHISKEY. C’mon now, if that doesn’t sway your opinion at least a little bit in this dispute I don’t think you’re being very impartial.
So to declare a winner in the debate of screw top or cork top, I think the cork takes it. It’s timeless, aesthetically pleasing and functional. If you have any opinions or think of any features we missed let us know below! Cheers.
Orion has been friends with Greg since their high school days.
His love for whiskey grew as he tried different pours Greg was reviewing for Whiskey Culture. And, when Whiskey Culture began traveling around the country, he went with them to document their whiskey expeditions.
Orion now works full-time for Whiskey Culture managing our production schedule and ensuring the quality of our content. He oversees our contributor program, and can be found alongside Greg during their trips to Kentucky either behind the camera, or behind a glass of fine whiskey after a long day of shooting footage.