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  1. #1
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    Anonymizing a Bottle

    With several of the bottles I have I sometimes find myself liking the bottle itself in addition to the spirit it contains. There are a few that I want to remove all labels, print, etc.. from so that I may one day re-use them. Most bottles are simple enough. Paper labels can be soaked off (and can be used as decals if done properly and you have something to stick it on right after you take it off).
    I cannot remove all traces of the label when there is a plastic sticker, the sticker can be peeled off but the gum that is stuck to the bottle is hard to remove. I tried nail polish remover and after much scrubbing some of it came off. Fortunately most of the bottles I see and so far none of the ones I want to keep have this type of label.
    What gives me the most trouble is removing the print from something like, case and point, a BTAC bottle. I tried nail polish remover on this and it did nothing, trying to scratch the print off with a knife didnít do anything either. Iím wondering if this print can be removed at all. Has anyone here had any experience with this? I did a search but the only information I could find was regarding paper labels. Input would be appreciated as I think a blank BTAC bottle would make a really nice decanter if paired with a good looking stopper! Even with the print and no paper labels the bottle would look cool but Iíd like to make one completely blank as well if possible.
    /\../\

    "I've had eighteen straight whiskies, I think that's the record . . ." - Dylan Thomas

  2. #2
    Bourbonian of the Year 2002 and Guru
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    Re: Anonymizing a Bottle

    Have you tried vodka? I'm not kidding. I usually find if acetone (nail polish remover) fails I'll try alcohol. Usually one or the other will work. Next stop would probably be paint thinner. For every adhesive there is a solvent...and a time for every purpose under heaven.

  3. #3
    Advanced Taster
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    Re: Anonymizing a Bottle

    I have found that WD-40 removes just about any adhesive but the smell must be removed with plenty of soap and hot water. The dishwasher does well for that.

    bj

  4. #4
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    Re: Anonymizing a Bottle

    Wow, this is right up my alley. I was previously employed as the decorating department manager for a large container company. We specialized in plastic containers but also printed on glass, rubber, styrofoam etc.

    The decorating on the glass bottles was accomplished in one of two ways. It was either done with conventions inks and solvents or U.V. based inks.

    If it was conventional ink it was either a one part application. This is what you are hoping for but most unlikely as it is the least durable. You should be able to use acetone to get it off. Try straight acetone as nail polish isn't going to do the trick. As far as alcohol, it's useless against any and all inks printed on glass containers unless the printer used the wrong ink. It does happen by the way.

    If it was U.V. ink things are a little harder. The ink would be applied and then cured under ultraviolet light. It is quite a strong chemical bond between the ink and container in these cases. You will probably have to scrape the ink off. Acetone will not help here nor will alcohol. Try laquer thinner.

    If the ink was a two part epoxy based application don't even bother trying. However this is the most expensive method. Also one that most print shops shy away from because of certain environmental issues.

    If the acetone or laquer thinner don't work out do not despair. Skip down to the hardware store and get a small bottle of Zip Strip or somethine called 5F5. We use these to clean off old silk screen frames that have been sitting for months at a time. Lay it on thick, wait about 45 minutes, I think the can says 10 but let it sit longer, then scrape the ink off. Then just wipe the container with rubbing alcohol to remove the residue.

    Sorry for the long reply. Here is what I would do if in your situation. Before even trying these methods I would get out the phone book. Look under printers or screen printer shops in your area. They're all around, believe me. See if they will sell you some solvents such as screen ink thinner or remover. Or I would pay them a few bucks to remove the ink for me. It should take about ten minutes per bottle to clean up. Most of these guys are small family business and I'm sure they would do this for you.

    Chris

  5. #5
    Bourbonian of the Year 2004 and Guru
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    Nelson County, Kentucky
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    Re: Anonymizing a Bottle

    The inspectors on the line use "razor, paint scrapers" to remove pressure (PS) sensitive labels.

    Did I mention, "be careful"?

    Bettye Jo

    Quote Originally Posted by gothbat View Post
    With several of the bottles I have I sometimes find myself liking the bottle itself in addition to the spirit it contains. There are a few that I want to remove all labels, print, etc.. from so that I may one day re-use them. Most bottles are simple enough. Paper labels can be soaked off (and can be used as decals if done properly and you have something to stick it on right after you take it off).
    I cannot remove all traces of the label when there is a plastic sticker, the sticker can be peeled off but the gum that is stuck to the bottle is hard to remove. I tried nail polish remover and after much scrubbing some of it came off. Fortunately most of the bottles I see and so far none of the ones I want to keep have this type of label.
    What gives me the most trouble is removing the print from something like, case and point, a BTAC bottle. I tried nail polish remover on this and it did nothing, trying to scratch the print off with a knife didnít do anything either. Iím wondering if this print can be removed at all. Has anyone here had any experience with this? I did a search but the only information I could find was regarding paper labels. Input would be appreciated as I think a blank BTAC bottle would make a really nice decanter if paired with a good looking stopper! Even with the print and no paper labels the bottle would look cool but Iíd like to make one completely blank as well if possible.

  6. #6
    Connoisseur
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    Re: Anonymizing a Bottle

    Thanks for all the suggestions and information everyone! I tried a razor as well as a knife but that didnít work either, it didnít seem to do anything to the print, itís on there pretty good. I was going to try some really pure rubbing alcohol but passed on it since the bottle originally contained 129.9 proof whiskey; I figure that whatever was used for printing would be resistant to alcohol but I could be wrong so Iíll still consider this in the future since I think I can get 90% or 95% rubbing alcohol. Unable to find any 5F5 or Zip Strip as Chris suggested I went with Bix Stripper. ďRemoves all paints and finishesĒ the bottle says just above a skull and crossbones so Iím fairly confident in this stuff. Unfortunately this seems like something I should do outside so I will probably wait until tomorrow to test it out. Iíll report back with the results.
    /\../\

    "I've had eighteen straight whiskies, I think that's the record . . ." - Dylan Thomas

  7. #7
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    Re: Anonymizing a Bottle

    Out of curiousity, did you try asking forum member Catahoula, whose firm is responsible for putting the design on the BTAC bottles in the first place?

    Also, whatever heavy chemistry is required to remove that print is probably not anything you'd want to ingest even in trace amounts. I'd cork, tape, and otherwise utterly seal off the bottle neck and interior before hitting the outside with that stuff, and give it a series of thorough cleanings with a variety of safer solvents before returning it to beverage use. Just a thought.
    Dave

  8. #8
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    Re: Anonymizing a Bottle

    Well, the Bix does not appear to be working. After leaving it on for a few minutes and trying to scrape it off like the directions said I end up with darkened print like scratching it with a knife or razor does. Initially it did look like it was getting thinner but this proved not to be the case once the bottle was washed, it didn't do a thing to the print. I actually put another coat on and will try scraping it off tomorrow but I am doubtful this will work.
    When I was making my initial post I thought I remembered an introductory post by someone who said they worked for the company responsible for producing the BTAC bottles but I couldn't find it. I probably just skimmed the posts too fast. Thanks for the link, I think I will send him a message.
    At this point I'm less interested on taking the print off, the more I think about removing it the better I think it would look with just the stickers removed. But since I've already started I may as well see it through a little more. Again, thanks for the suggestions! I will update this with anything else I try so anyone else looking to do something like this either knows what to use or what not to waste their time on.
    Wow, all this just to deface a really good bottle of bourbon! (The bottle I'm working with now is an '06 WLW) haha
    /\../\

    "I've had eighteen straight whiskies, I think that's the record . . ." - Dylan Thomas

  9. #9
    Novice
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    Jan 2007
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    New Orleans
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    Re: Anonymizing a Bottle

    I am the guy you are looking for. Not sure what you mean by "BTAC" but here is what I know about the labeling on the BT packages.

    They fall into three categories. Some of the labels are "cold glue" or sometimes called "wet glue" applied. These are mainly used on the older packages that generally, but not always, fall into the "value priced" category of products. Ancient Age is still cold glue I believe. These labels will soak off in warm water. May take a day or so, but they will eventually fall right off.

    The second system is PSL (Pressure Sensitive Label). Many bottlers are moving away from cold glue to PSL because they can run the lines faster and have a lot less loss from bad packages. These labels already have the self-adhesive glue applied when they arrive at the distillery. Once these are stuck on, they don't let go easily. Here at SPAR we remove them with an Xacto knife (razor knife with a handle) and then resort to something like Goo-Gone to dissolve the remaining glue. Be careful - it is real easy to lay your hand wide open using a razor on these labels. WD40 also does a pretty good job on this glue after scraping but the Goo-Gone smells a lot better.

    The last system used is ACL (Applied Color Label), and it isn't likely you will get this off. The color is screen printed onto the glass by the decorator before it even gets to the distillery and then fired on. Some of the colors are ceramic and some are organic. Most if not all at BT are ceramic now, but they are working on switching to organic for Rain. I have never tried but you might be able to scrape the organic colors off with an Xacto knife because they are not quite as hard as the ceramic, but I doubt it.

    The BT KSBW package is both ACL and PSL. The label with the buffalo rendering and the back labels are PSL. The BT logo on the face is ACL, and I don't think that will ever come off.

    The new Charter package and the new Weller 12 package are both PSL and can be removed with the method outlined above.

    The Antique Collection and Eagle Rare SBB are both ACL and PSL. ET Lee is PSL.

    Hope this helps.

    Catahoula

  10. #10
    Disciple
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    Re: Anonymizing a Bottle

    Hi Catahoula,
    The BTAC is the Buffalo Trace Antique Collection. I had been thinking about trying to remove the print on an old Stagg bottle but I think I will give it a miss now. I have one bottle of a non BT bourbon called Dakota which is in the same bottle as the BTAC which does not have anything on the glass but a paper label so I think I will just use that if I want a classy bottle to hold something else.

    Ed
    Bourbon makes me happy.

    Go Fighters!

 

 

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