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French ceramic jug M0354 990116-6 1 (cropped).jpg
French ceramic jug
Covered cream jug, 1735, silver, Cleveland Museum of Art (USA) Europe, probably England, 18th century - Covered Cream Jug - 1940.222 - Cleveland Museum of Art.jpg
Covered cream jug, 1735, silver, Cleveland Museum of Art (USA)

A jug is a type of container commonly used to hold liquids. It has an opening, sometimes narrow, from which to pour or drink, and has a handle, and often a pouring lip. Jugs throughout history have been made of metal, and ceramic, or glass, and plastic is now common.


In British English, jugs are pouring vessels for holding drinkable liquids, whether beer, water or soft drinks; types of packaging for milk etc are not called jugs. In North American English these table jugs are usually called pitchers. Ewer is an older word for jugs or pitchers, and there are several others.

Several other types of containers are also called jugs, depending on locale, tradition, and personal preference. Some types of bottles can be called jugs, particularly if the container has a narrow mouth and has a handle. Closures such as stoppers or screw caps are common for these retail packages.


The word jug is first recorded in the late 15th century as jugge or jubbe. It is of unknown origin, but perhaps comes from jug a term for a maidservant, in the same period. This in turn comes from the alteration of common personal names such as Joan or Judith. [1]

Beer jug

In certain countries, especially New Zealand and Australia, a "jug" refers to a plastic container filled with two pints (just over a litre) of beer. It is usually served along with one or more small glasses from which the beer is normally consumed, although in some student bars it is more common for the beer to be drunk directly from the jug, which is usually served without the accompanying glass. (In the U.S., this may be called a pitcher—although few US pitchers are as small as a litre, generally holding between 64 and 128 U.S. fluid ounces, approximately 2-4 litres. In New Zealand and Australia a pitcher sometimes can refer to a much larger measure of beer.) [2]

In Britain in those parts of the county[ which? ] where there is a choice between a pint (20 fluid ounces) tankard and a straight glass of beer, a tankard may be called a tankard or a "jug". [3] A jug of beer may also refer to a jug containing larger amounts (usually sized in pints), but if a large jug is sold it will be advertised as such in the pub and this helps to reduce confusion.

As a musical instrument

In American folk music, an empty jug (often stoneware used for American whiskey) is sometimes used as a musical instrument, being played with buzzed lips to produce a trombone-like tone. It is often part of a jug band, to which ensemble it lends its name.


A variety of containers are sometimes called “jugs”.

See also

Related Research Articles


The pint is a unit of volume or capacity in both the imperial and United States customary measurement systems. In both of those systems it is traditionally one eighth of a gallon. The British imperial pint is about ​15 larger than the American pint because the two systems are defined differently. Almost all other countries have standardized on the metric system, so the size of what may be called a pint varies depending on local custom.


A carboy, also known as a demijohn, is a rigid container with a typical capacity of 1 to 16 US gallons. Carboys are primarily used for transporting liquids, often water or chemicals.

Beer bottle

A beer bottle is a bottle designed as a container for beer. Such designs vary greatly in size and shape, but the glass commonly is brown or green to reduce spoilage from light, especially ultraviolet.


A keg is a small barrel. Traditionally, a wooden keg is made by a cooper and used to transport items such as nails, gunpowder, and a variety of liquids.

Beer stein

Beer stein, or simply stein, is an English term for either traditional beer mugs made out of stoneware, or specifically ornamental beer mugs that are usually sold as souvenirs or collectibles. An 1894 article on beer mugs in the American Vogue magazine describes various types of steins adding ″And it is to this [i.e. German] nation that we owe Wagner's music and the apotheosis of the beer mug."


A flagon is a large leather, metal, glass, plastic or ceramic vessel, used for drink, whether this be water, ale, or another liquid. A flagon is typically of about 2 imperial pints (1.1 l) in volume, and it has either a handle, or one or two rings at the neck. Sometimes the neck has a large flange at the top rather than rings. The neck itself may or may not be formed into one, two or three spouts. The name comes from the same origin as the word "flask".

Container-deposit legislation

Container-deposit legislation is any law that requires the collection of a monetary deposit on beverage containers at the point of sale and/or the payment of refund value to the consumers. When the container is returned to an authorized redemption center, or retailer in some jurisdictions, the deposit is partly or fully refunded to the redeemer. It is a deposit-refund system.

Beer in Australia

Beer arrived in Australia at the beginning of British colonisation. In 2004 Australia was ranked fourth internationally in per capita beer consumption, at around 110 litres per year; although, the nation ranked considerably lower in a World Health Organization report of alcohol consumption per capita of 12.2 litres. Lager is by far the most popular type of beer consumed in Australia.

Pint glass Glassware made to hold Beer or Cider

A pint glass is a form of drinkware made to hold either a British ("imperial") pint of 20 imperial fluid ounces (568 ml) or an American pint of 16 US fluid ounces (473 ml). Other definitions also exist, see below. These glasses are typically used to serve beer, and also often for cider.

Glass milk bottle

Glass milk bottles are glass bottles used for milk and are generally reusable and returnable. Milk bottles are used mainly for doorstep delivery of fresh milk by milkmen: retail store sale is available in some regions. After customers have finished the milk they are expected to rinse the empty bottles and leave it on the doorstep for collection, or return it to the retail store. The standard size of a bottle varies with location, common sizes are pint, quart, Litre, etc.

Glass bottle

A glass bottle is a bottle made from glass. Glass bottles can vary in size considerably, but are most commonly found in sizes ranging between about 200 millilitres and 1.5 litres. Common uses for glass bottles include food condiments, soda, liquor, cosmetics, pickling and preservatives. These types of bottles are utilitarian and serve a purpose in commercial industries.

Bartending terminology Terms used in drinking culture and bartending

Various unique terminology is used in bartending.

Beer glassware Drinking and serving glass for beer

Beer glassware comprise vessels made of glass, designed or commonly used for serving and drinking beer. Styles of glassware vary in accord with national or regional traditions; legal or customary requirements regarding serving measures and fill lines; such practicalities as breakage avoidance in washing, stacking or storage; commercial promotion by breweries; artistic or cultural expression in folk art or as novelty items or usage in drinking games; or to complement, to enhance, or to otherwise affect a particular type of beer's temperature, appearance and aroma, as in the case of its head. Drinking vessels intended for beer are made from a variety of materials other than glass, including pottery, pewter, and wood.

Tankard Drinking vessel

A tankard is a form of drinkware consisting of a large, roughly cylindrical, drinking cup with a single handle. Tankards are usually made of silver or pewter, but can be made of other materials, for example wood, ceramic or leather. A tankard may have a hinged lid, and tankards featuring glass bottoms are also fairly common. Tankards are shaped and used similarly to beer steins.

Milk bag Plastic bags that contain milk

Milk bags are plastic bags that contain milk. They are usually stored in a pitcher or jug with one of the corners cut off to allow for pouring. A typical milk bag contains approximately 1 L (1.8 imp pt) of milk in South America, Iran, Israel, Eastern Europe and the Baltics, while in the UK they contain 2 imperial pints (1.1 L), in Canada 1 13 litres (2.3 imp pt), and in India, 0.5 L (0.9 imp pt).

Bartmann jug

A Bartmann jug, also called Bellarmine jug, is a type of decorated salt-glazed stoneware that was manufactured in Europe throughout the 16th and 17th centuries, especially in the Cologne region in what is today western Germany. The signature decorative detail was a bearded face mask appearing on the lower neck of the vessel. They were made as jugs, bottles and pitchers in various sizes and for a multitude of uses, including storage of food or drink, decanting wine and transporting goods.

Schooner (glass)

A schooner is a type of glass for serving drinks. In the United Kingdom it is the name for a large sherry glass. In Australia it is the name for a particular glass size, used for any type of beer.

Growler (jug)

A growler is a glass, ceramic, or stainless steel bottle used to transport draft beer. They are commonly sold at breweries and brewpubs as a means to sell take-out craft beer. Rarely, beers are bottled in growlers for retail sale. The significant growth of craft breweries and the growing popularity of home brewing has also led to an emerging market for the sale of collectible growlers. Some U.S. grocery stores, convenience stores, bars and restaurants have growler filling stations.


  1. Harper, Douglas (2012). "Jug". Online Etymology Dictionary. Retrieved 9 April 2012.
  2. Drink : Australian Beer Sizes Our Naked Australia, May 6, 2013
  3. Hall, James (12 January 2012), "Glass beer tankards make return", Daily Telegraph

"Jug"  . Encyclopedia Americana . 1920.