Some people in a chatroom were having a debate about the various sizes of beer (both glass and bottle) and what they are called in various parts of Australia… someone mentioned the term “echo”, which does sound familiar from my Adelaide days.
I was hoping some of my contacts from uni who are known to partake of much more of this type of beverage and hence are more likely to understand the origins of the term would be able to enlighten me with some details – so I sent out an email asking for help.
In the mean time, I did find some information on Google…
echo – noun
1. one who reflects or imitates another: What are you? An echo?
2. SA a small returnable beer bottle.
But I was hoping for a bit more detail.
I got a response from Nick:
As I understand it..
Before they had deposits on beer bottles in SA they were called stubbies, then when they introduced the deposits (I’m told this was
about 1982), they got called echoes, because they kept coming back. I guess since then it’s reverted to stubby again.
It will be interesting to see whether anyone comes up with any more information on this completely useless bit of trivia.
Shaun Hargans says
A standard glass beer Stubby (375 ml) has a neck diameter of 1.9cm, while a South Australian brewer used to market (maybe still does) a Stubby with a neck size of about 3.5 cm, or a bit larger than the diameter of a milk bottle’s neck. Consequently, the tip of the drinker’s nose is usually on or just above the upper arc of the Echo’s rim, and the drinker can hear himself breathe. It is this echo of the breath that gives rise to the name, which has been in use since at least 1975.
Found this on Macquariedictionary.com
i was debating this today – boxing day 2008
Echoes were like stubbies but smaller, sort of like the current VB stubbies but with more of a neck. Thats what i remember from my childhood days. I have never heard the return bit before and it does not quite make sense given all bottle sizes were returnable. The only time I hear the term used now is older persons (over 40) calling stubbie holders echo holders.