Four: So Crates!

Separate to this venture I finally began brewing my own beer at the end of last year. I enjoyed both making and consuming my first batch of pale ale and I plan to continue the practice into the foreseeable future. But beer needs bottles and bottles need a neat and orderly method of storage. So I decided some beer crates were in order. After a little thought, I came up with some initial criteria:

  1. Stackable — my crates needed to stack on top of each other for convenient storage and be relatively stable when stacked.
  2. Sturdy — my crates needed to be hard wearing and last a lot longer than my beer.
  3. Simple — my crates needed to be easy enough for me to build and use minimal materials: to reduce costs and tare weight.
  4. Smart — my crates needed to fit my bottles.

With this in mind I began the lengthy design phase. I quickly checked what the internet had on offer as far as guides and instructables had to go, but could not find anything that fit the bill. I did find this photo however, and based my drawings from the design of these made by Dan B.

I took my time measuring bottles, drawing my plans, labelling dimensions and checking my maths. I really did not want to be making these up as I went. After getting my initial idea down, I spent a bit of time on the Bunnings website checking out my timber options. I find it best to design something after working out which timber is the cheapest and best fit, and work that timber into the design from the beginning.

I currently have two different size bottles—330ml and 750ml—so I wanted to make a small and large size crate for each. With a bit of number crunching, I was able to design the crates so that two large crates equal the height of three small crates, which I was pretty happy with.

With my design sorted, a trip to Bunnings for supplies, and a handy borrowing of Zara’s Dad’s drop saw, I set to work on the prototype/first crate. As I had spent so long getting my design spot on I made sure my cut lengths were as accurate as possible, and when I began assembly I was pleased to find that everything was very precise and square. I did however have to adjust for one design oversight and made one other slight change on the fly, but other than that everything went to plan nicely.

In the end I am very happy with how they all fit together.



  1. Wow! they look cool. Well done. Bob is on a walk at the moment but I will show him when he gets back as I know he will be interested. We made a few nice lots of beer when we were at Irymple but it didn’t last out here as he couldn’t find a spot cool enough to make it and he had a few dud batches. That’s why he built the cellar!
    Bob’s nephew has a specialist beer supply shop in Melbourne. I have been to it. I think around your side of the city. He does very well and at one stage had two outlets. You may know the shop. I’ll ask Bob the details.
    Keep being creative!

  2. Stackable features are neat on this design.

    What glue are you using for the bottles? I’ve got a crafty style glue that I like because it washes off the bottle, but on the flip side, I’ll often open the fridge to find a naked bottle with the label somewhere down below.

  3. Actually, additional question: the planks actually holding the beer are attached to the horizontal board from the underside? By nail, or screw?
    Either way, is the weight of the beer is pulling the plank away from the beam? If so, once it’s a bit weathered, that might prove to be an issue; if the plank sat over the beam, the screw is just holding it in place.

    Are you Redditors? if so r/DIY is for you, and I hope you submit your projects there.

    I’m super impressed with all this – I’ve just got some old milk crates, but they look terrible compared to these 😉

    • Simon

      1 February, 2017 at 07:45

      Thanks Matt,
      Yes, the horizontal planks are attached underneath. I was trying to minimise the overall height of the crate so did it that way. Each plank is attached with two 25mm screws at either end, plus the way the bottles are spaced means that the weight of only three or so bottles is on any one plank and when stacked the planks rest on the crate below, so I’m fairly confident it shouldn’t be an issue.

      As for my glue, I used milk. A quick dive into some homebrewing forums told me that apparently it’s the best and it was super easy, so I tried it. I haven’t had any issues with wayward labels as yet. Here’s one of the threads I read, or I also came across this glue recipe that is apparently good, but I’ve not tested it.

      Never really got in to reddit, I fear I’d like it too much..

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