According to an item on Vestal Design’s blog, Alfred Heineken, who is credited with making Heineken beer an international brand, had a unique, if somewhat bizarre, idea to make square beer bottles that could be fitted together and stacked to build houses after people finished drinking them. It was mentioned briefly in his BBC News obituary, but with few details (Heineken passed away in 2002). According to Vestal Design’s account, Alfie was wandering the beach in Jamaica and was struck by the large number of beer bottles littering the beach. He was also apparently “concerned with the lack of cheap building materials, and at the resulting living conditions for the poor.” In one of those same leaping kind of moments that produced Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups (you’ve got chocolate in my peanut butter!) he put two and two together and got five. Voila, the square beer bottle was born. Or it would have been, except that Heineken’s board of directors didn’t share his vision. He thought square Heineken bottles would be imported around the world and then they’d stay there and be used to build houses. They thought he was nuts, or at least the idea was.
Vestal Design speculates that you would need one thousand bottles to build a house ten feet square. They also note glass is a good insulator and the bottle was designed in such a way that the bottle neck fit into a groove in the bottom of the bottle so they would essentially fit together. They would certainly stack in your refrigerator better, too, wouldn’t they?
Alfred Heineken’s World Beer bottles, which he envisioned using to build houses.