What is shotgunning a beer?
Shotgunning a beer is when you open a hole in the bottom of your brew in order to increase the flow of liquid coming out, which allows you to chug it all at once. You do this by rotating your beer horizontally and opening a drinking hole in the bottom of the beer can. You put your mouth on this new hole, rotate it back up vertically and open the beer tab at the top to force the beer quickly out the bottom opening.
Five simple steps how to shotgun a beer:
Tilt the beer can horizontally. This will help you cut the hole towards the bottom of the can without gravity making it spill all over the place.
Using a sharp object, shotgunning tool or your thumb, puncture a hole towards the bottom of the can about an inch up. The hole should be aligned with the beer tab, on the opposite side of the typical opening you drink from on the top of the can. The new hole you create at the bottom will be the hole you will drink the beer from.
Place your mouth on the new hole you created in the bottom of the can so you can catch the beer when it spills out the hole. Next, rotate the beer back to a vertical, up right position.
Open the can by popping the tab on the top of the can. This will immediately increase the flow of the beer coming out of the bottom so get ready for it!
Drink all the wonderful contents of the beer to completion and show everyone how cool you are by crushing the can and slamming it to the ground. Congratulations! Feel free to act like you just won the Super Bowl or WWE title.
The history of shotgunning beers
For decades people have been trying to solve the age old problem of getting their beers into their mouth faster. Many inventions and gadgets have come along to help solve this horrific issue such as beer bongs, ice luges and keg stands, just to name a few. However, probably one of the most popular solutions has been shotgunning the beer. The reason why is based on its simplicity and not requiring an elaborate contraption to get the job done. As long as you can puncture the bottom of the can you are ready to chug your beer at an alarming rate.
The origin of who invented this handy party trick is unclear, but it was made into pop culture when the beer shotgun hit the big screen in 1985 with the film “The Sure Thing”.
It took off in popularity after that and is still a mainstay even to this day. The current world record for the fastest beer finished when using the shotgun method was set by William Paul in 2008. At a New Year's Eve party in Grand Forks, North Dakota, he downed a Bud Light in just 2.78 seconds. This new world record for shotgunning a beer beat the existing record by more than 2.5 seconds.
In 2012, Miller Lite introduced a can that was designed to puncture a hole in the top of the can to produce a smoother, faster flow of beer.
While this wasn't a true shotgunning because the secondary hole isn't located at the bottom of the can, it does create a similar effect and makes the beer flow faster and more smoothly. It worked great if you tipped the can at a 90 degree drinking angle and didn't tip the beer all the way upside down. Check out the side by side comparison with the punch top hole on the right and the flow of the regular can on the left in the following video. You can see the punch top flows at a steady rate while the traditional can struggles to come out.
The science behind shotgunning — increase the flow rate in the can
Drinking out of just the mouth of the can has a fairly slow flow rate. Even if you try to pour out a can you will notice a vacuum effect of air where the drink will gurgle as it comes out. If you remove the vacuum it will create more pressure and allow it to quickly flow through the bottom of the can. The problem is no air is getting in the other side to push the beer out, so it restricts the flow of the liquid and slows down the pour. The flow of air into the can slows down even more when a person drinks from it.
You can find this same trick to increase the flow rate in other applications such as a large laundry detergent bottles. As you can see from the picture above, the cap on the top of the bottle says, "Twist Cap to Vent." The manufacturer put this additional hole in the top of the bottle to remove the vacuum of air and allow for a quick flow of liquid.
- Choose a light beer as the heavier the beer the harder it will be to quickly consume
- Let the beer sit out on the counter for 5 minutes before you shotgun. While we previously explained why light beers are best drank at cold temperatures, letting it warm for a few minutes will make it go down easier. Don't wait too long or the beer will produce more head as it gets above 40 degrees
- Make sure your mouth is fully covering the hole in the bottom of the can before tipping it or you will end up with beer running down your neck
- Place your hand on the top tab and get ready to pop it immediately after you rotate the can in order to master a quick shotgun
- Due to the carbonation inside the beer can, it will likely spray out when you puncture the beer. Some beer loss is normal in this case and is why we recommend this as an outdoor activity that goes perfectly after you have successfully caught your beer while playing Beer Can Fishing
- Knowing how to shotgun is great and all, but you really should put this into practice at home alone before attempting this in front of real human beings. The first couple shotguns will likely result in beer spilled all over the ground or yourself and nobody wants to be that guy at the party