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It is generaly agreed that a miniature is 100ml or less, although some collectors will tell you 50ml, up to 50ml, or 75ml. In a few countries, notably Japan, 120/125 ml is a common size and counted as a miniature. Some bottles/decanters (mainly ceramic) are up to 200ml and yet no bigger than true miniatures and many miniature collectors collect these. For this reason you will find a few larger bottles listed here. If known, we have listed the quantity on these larger capacity bottles. If you spot any bottle over 200ml it will have been included by mistake. Please let us know:  

We are frequently asked 'how big is a miniature?' The questioner actually means how tall. The answer is that it does not matter, the quantity determins whether the bottle is a miniature or not. We know of at least a couple of 'miniatures' that are 30cm (12") tall and yet only 50ml. A sub-class of miniatures is micros. These are usually defind as up to 15ml & up to 76mm (3") tall.

If it is drinkable, without poisoning you, it counts. Which means that even water counts. Note that many micros contain coloured water but are true to label. Most Coca Cola micros contain Coke syrup as when diluted the bottle would appear almost transparent. Bottles that are empty are generally not collected, however there are exceptions. Most collectors would collect an unopened but evaporated bottle and a very old/rare bottle even if empty. With ceramics, many collectors do not mind either way, in fact some even empty ceramic bottles to avoid staining over time by the contents.

All bottles are indexed by County of Origin, then by Bottler (or Brand) and this is causing some confusion. The criteria that MBL uses to index the bottles is the name of the Bottler (or Brand if the bottler is not known) not the contents. The following examples illustrate how we decide what bottle goes where:

  A bottle with Scotch Whisky in it, that was bottled in Italy, will be listed under the Italian bottler's name (but also cross-indexed under the brand name)

  A bottle with Bourbon in it, where the bottler is unknown, will be listed under USA unless the bottle style or closure is distinctive to another country

  Many spirits & liqueurs are not bottled where made. A good example is the well known Yukon Jack from Canada, almost all of which is bottled by Heublein in the USA

  The same can apply to figurals also. Potter's figurals, although containing Potter's Canadian whisky, were made in Oregon, USA

  With figural bottles the country of origin of the bottles is ignored. Many (French) Garnier ceramic bottles were made in Italy but filled in France. Many US ceramics were made in Japan or Taiwan but filled in the US

  Where a brand has changed hands (sometimes several times) the current brand owner is listed as the bottler. Some former distillers/bottlers now have their different brands split between a number of current companies

  In recent years there has been a very large 'shuffling' of brands between major companies, especially in North America, Eastern Europe and Scotland. If you believe that any brand has been wrongly assigned to a current owner please let us know (with references please)

  Beware of country names as part of the branding on a bottle. For instance, Greenland vodka is made and bottled in Denmark using water from Greenland. And most bottles with Danzig on the label are not from there. Beware also mistaking the bottler with the importer, who's name is often prominently displayed. This is especially true where the importer uses non-latin script (Chinese, Arabic etc) to show the country name. We have had a number of arguments with collectors who have managed to translate the importer's country name, assuming that that is where the bottle is from

  All Cognac is from France but some is bottled in other countries. Beware of so called Cognac from some Eastern European countries, notably Armenia, as this is not Cognac

  Micro Miniatures are a nightmare to categorise. Rarely do they have a bottler's name on and almost never a country of origin. Some bottles that collectors think were made in Italy were actually made in the US. Cans from Argentina were actually made in Italy. Bottles that just say Coca Cola were made in at least five countries. For this reason we have decided to index micros with the master brand owner. This means that all Coca Cola & associated brand bottles and cans are listed under Coca Cola USA and all 7Up/Canada Dry/Spur Cola bottles etc. under Dr. Pepper Snapple Group. In the case of English micros the brand name is ignored and all are listed under Kiddicraft Micros (Gold Seal), although some of these bottles were made by another (unknown) manufacturer.

There is no 'perfect' way to categorise bottles but we believe that the criteria we have used is the best there is. If in doubt just look for the brand name - it should be cross-indexed.


On modern bottles Barcodes are a good way of finding out where a bottle was made. CLICK HERE for a table of barcodes

There is also some help as to how to determin ages of bottles, especially US ones. CLICK HERE for this information

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