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Why Do Maple Syrup Bottles Have Tiny Handles?

Maple syrup in glass bottle on wooden table.

If you regularly reach for pure maple syrup on the grocery store shelf, you’ve probably noticed that most bottles have handles so tiny they’re almost comical. Have you ever gotten your fingers stuck in there while trying to douse your pancakes? Really, do they even serve a purpose?

You might be surprised to learn that there’s a lot of history and a little bit of marketing behind the handles on maple syrup bottles.

Maple syrup wasn’t actually widely produced until the 19th century when it was commonly stored in tin cans. Salt-glazed stoneware jugs weren’t typically used to contain maple syrup, but they did contain nearly everything else back then, including molasses and liquor. Those jugs typically hand standard-sized handles people could hold onto for pouring.

Obviously, it’d be difficult to pour and use ingredients for recipes when they’re stored in heavy jugs, which is why a cheaper and more accessible alternative eventually took over: glass.

Escuminac Canadian Maple Syrup

These might not have handles but try this trio of syrups.

The handles on the glass syrup bottles you see today are nothing more than a bit of nostalgia. Hank Green, creator of YouTube’s popular SciShow, explains how that works and how it impacts the way we think in this video.

So, does the little syrup handle serve a real purpose? No. But, does it remind you of something old-fashioned, comforting, and familiar? Absolutely. That’s the point.

When it comes to effective packaging and marketing combined, the maple syrup companies understand their target audience, which is why it’s so fun to pour a steady stream of syrup from those old-fashioned-looking bottles.

The next time you reach for a bottle of syrup at the store, consider its origins and think about what other things you might use every day that offer the same sense of nostalgia.

Stacey Koziel Stacey Koziel
Stacey Koziel is a news writer at LifeSavvy. She's worked as a freelance writer for over ten years, focusing on family and lifestyle content. She also has a background in marketing and social media, and is always eager to talk (and write!) about the latest TikTok trends. Read Full Bio »
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