A Beginner’s Guide On How To Shotgun A Beer

How-To Guides

A Beginner’s Guide On How To Shotgun A Beer

If you’ve recently emerged from under a rock, “shotgunning a beer” involves quickly drinking a brewski. While it’s hard to pinpoint exactly when this party trick hit the big time, it was memorably brought to the big screen in Rob Reiner’s 1985 movie, “The Sure Thing.” 

The scene where Walter Gibson (John Cusack) teaches Alison Bradbury (Daphne Zuniga) how to shotgun a beer wasn’t in the original script. Cusack told Reiner it was something he could do, and the director decided to add it in.

Want to be as cool as Cusack or as drop-dead impressive as Daphne? Follow this advice.

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What’s the Point of Shotgunning a Beer?

What’s the Point of Shotgunning a Beer?

You usually shotgun a beer in competition with somebody else, and it must be said racing is just plain fun. It’s also a way to spice up a gathering and break the ice. Think Battleshots, Beer Pong, Flip Cup, Truth or Drink, and Quarters, all games that have saved many a dull party from a too-early end.

You never know when knowing how to shotgun a beer may come in handy for your amusement or your friends.

Four Easy Steps To Shotgunning a Beer

Four Easy Steps To Shotgunning a Beer

Get your game on by following these straightforward instructions:

1. You’ll have to ditch the beer glass or bottle and grab a can. The first thing you’ll have to master is properly the puncturing process. Lay your beer on its side on a flat, firm surface, with the longer edge facing you.

    There’s a reason positioning the can properly is so important. When a can’s on its side, the air bubble that’s usually at the top moves to the side - an important factor for minimizing wastage when you open it up.

    2. Next, you’ll need to dent the beer. Position your thumb roughly an inch from the base of the can in its horizontal position because that’s where the metal will be thicker. Then roll it until you can feel air instead of liquid under your thumb. 

      That’s when you press down to make your indentation.

      3. Now that you’ve marked the spot, it’s time to make the hole. Take anything with a sharp end, like a key or knife, and position the pointy bit over the dent. Push down quickly but not too hard—you don’t want your implement to go right through the other side of your beer.

        Once you’re in, use your tool to enlarge the hole if you need to, ensuring it’s big enough to drink from. You should also push the metal edges down inside the can so you don’t cut your mouth later on.

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        4. Bring the beer to your mouth, keeping it in a horizontal position to avoid spillage. Inhale deeply and then carefully place your lips over the hole you made. 

          Take care not to leave any gaps. If you’re not paying attention at this stage, you may end up with wet clothes because the beer will pour through onto you. Tip your head back, so the can is vertical and reach for the tab, angling your head slightly if you need to.

          Open ‘er up and let the flow-through of air send the beer straight down your throat and to the winner’s position if you’re in a competition!

          Tips and Tricks for a Spectacular Shotgun Experience

          Tips and Tricks for a Spectacular Shotgun Experience

          It’s not rocket science, for sure. But learning how to shotgun a beer will take a little practice, even if you know how to handle yourself around suds. Have fun learning how to do it properly, and remember these tips to keep you in pole position:

          Preparation is Key

          Along with positioning your can correctly, consider your beer's temperature before you begin. Maybe you want it warmer. Warm beer has more foam, which might slow you down. Or do you like your refreshment ice-cold? That’s not recommended, either. Brain freeze, remember? 

          Try to find a middle ground between warm and frosty, and you should be fine.


          Extend your gratitude to Mother Earth for the beer you’re drinking by recycling the can it’s come in!

          Stay in Control

          If you do it right, you’ll drink your beer faster than you are used to. Alcohol is thus going to hit your bloodstream more quickly, and it will kick in more rapidly. 

          Set a limit for how much you drink before you start, and stick to it. Maybe even rope in a friend or two to ensure you don’t go too far. 

          Tread Lightly

          The type of beer you choose doesn’t matter as much as the fact that it should be light. You’ll be drinking too fast to savor what it tastes like, but full-strength beer will give your system a beating if you shotgun more than one.


          Of course, there are times when it’s all about savoring premium quality beers. The opposite is true, too. Now that you know how to shotgun a beer, you can spice up a party and have fun with your friends when the occasion calls for it.

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