During a routine bottle inspection at one of our breweries, we detected possible defects in a small percentage of bottles resulting in the random presence of bits of glass, most the size of grains of sand, but some small slivers in some bottles as well. Based on this sample, we quickly began testing bottles of Samuel Adams at all of our breweries and identified that the problem appeared to be isolated to a single glass plant of the five that supply us.
We assembled a panel of food safety, medical and packaging experts including a medical doctor who have thoroughly evaluated the samples. People who bite or swallow a fragment could possibly be injured. While the possibility of injury to an individual consumer is very low and the Company has had no reports of any injury, we do know that the risk is not zero, so we are voluntarily recalling all products in bottles from this specific glass plant that we believe could possibly be affected. While we believe that the number of bottles that actually contain glass is significantly less than 1% of the bottles we are recalling, we are taking this measure to protect the safety of our drinkers.
Only bottles embossed with the digits N35 followed by the letters OI are affected. I did find that my bottles of Sam Adams Double Bock were among those affected. I should add that I drank one of these Friday evening without issue. I am disappointed to be missing out on the other five, but it's better to be safe than sorry. The folks at Sam Adams have provided an online form where consumers can apply for a refund. The toughest part is reading the ink-stamped code on the bottle, but otherwise it's a simple and painless process.
There is a discussion on BeerAdvocate where some folks are saying they have found the affected embossed code on bottles from other breweries. It will be interesting to see if other breweries are affected.
Update, April 9: Lew Bryson posts word from Boston Brewing that other craft brewers' bottles with the N35 code are not affected. The bottle in question is a custom-made Boston Beer bottle.