Shotgunning Beer: A Detailed Step-by-Step Guide to This Fun Activity

What is shotgunning beer

Shotgunning beer offers you a simple way to finish one can of beer within the shortest time. This easy beer-drinking process lets you drink fast and impress your peers at parties. However, you need to do it right to create the best impression.

In this article, we bring you an expert guide to shotgunning a beer safely and effectively.

What Is Shotgunning Beer?

Shotgunning a beer is the process of punching a hole in a beer can, opening the tab, and allowing the beer to pour smoothly into your mouth. After punching the hole and opening the can tab, the beer rushes out through the hole at speed so that you can gulp the beer down quickly.

The hole created in the bottom of the can lets air enter the beer can – the principle behind the fast draining. When you cover the only hole in the can with your mouth, a vacuum is created, helping to slow down the beer flow. The addition of another hole to the beer can’s bottom promotes free air entry, pushing out the beer.

How to Shotgun a Beer in 7 Easy Steps

Beer shotgunning looks easy and fast from afar. However, taking the wrong approach may lead to the spilling of the beer. You also want to ensure your safety when going about it.

Here is a detailed guide on how to shotgun a beer fast:

– Step 1: Turn the Beer Can Horizontally

You can hold the can in your hand or lay it on a table such that it is sideways. You should use a firm, flat surface on your first attempt. Ensure that the longer edge of the beer can is facing your direction. There is always an air bubble moving around a sealed beer can, depending on the orientation of the can.

When upright, the bubby sits naturally at the top, near the can tab. Since shotgunning involves drinking from the bottom or side of the beer can, you want the bubble to move to that position. If you puncture the beer can before the air bubble moves the location, you risk spraying the beer out sooner than you want.

– Step 2: Mark the Hole

After moving the air bubble to the side of the beer can, the next step is to mark the area where you want to puncture your hole. Creating a slight dent or scratch on the spot will help you puncture the perfect place whenever you are ready. One trick is to position your (intended) hole about one inch (2.5 centimeters) from the beer can’s bottom.

The aluminum can does not have the same hardness on every side. Thus, you are looking to puncture your hole on the sweet spot, close to the bottom. The metal can of beer gets softer around one inch from the bottom. Then you can push on the can slightly where you feel a pocket of air to make the dent.

Proper positioning will make this process more seamless. As a left-handed person, you want to have the tab on your left-hand side and make a dent with your right thumb. It is the other way round for a right-handed person.

– Step 3: Puncture a Hole Using a Sharp Object or Shotgun Tool

Once you have a properly marked spot on your beer can, you can safely puncture it without spilling the beer everywhere. You want to use objects with sharp pointy ends like a knife or key to punch the hole through the aluminum can. A bottle opener may also do the trick. Regardless of your preparation up to this point, there is a high possibility of beer spillage.

– Step 4: Enlarge the Hole to the Size of a Dime

Since you initially chose a soft and bendable part of the beer can, you can easily adjust the size of the hole. Use your knife or key to push around the hole until the size is about a dime. Beware of sharp edges, especially if you decide to use your fingers. You don’t want something to damper the mood of the beer-drinking race.

You can also create a larger hole than a dime’s size, but ensure your entire mouth will fit around the hole. Larger holes make more beer flow out, allowing you to drink the beer much faster. However, you may end up having beer all over your body if your mouth doesn’t fit around the hole.

– Step 5: Place Your Mouth on the Hole

After making the hole correctly, ensure you keep the beer can horizontal until the actual shotgunning. The hole should stay face up, keeping the beer angle right for proper air-picked alignment.

Gently bring the hole to your mouth horizontally, ensuring that your mouth covers the entire hole. You must also make sure that your lips create a solid seal around the hole to prevent it from dripping out. Some people also use a beer bong to aid in faster drinking.

– Step 6: Turn the Beer Can into a Vertical Position

Gravity will help propel your beer out of the can at this stage. Turn the beer can completely vertical whenever you are ready to start drinking. This allows all of the beer to rush out from the bottom. Ensure that one of your hands is on the tab to enable you to open the beer once it is vertical.

– Step 7: Tilt Your Head Backwards and Open the Tab

With your mouth solidly around the hole and the beer turned vertical, slightly tilt your head back. The beer can tends to have a sharper angle with your head tilted slightly towards the back. As this motion begins, pop the tab of the can open to allow air to flow through it.

Beer shotgun

The air channel is the trick for a beer shotgun. Once you open the tab with the can turned vertical, there’s no turning back.

The beer will flow really fast, so you should get ready for the moment. Before tilting your head back, take a deep, relaxing breath.

The tilting also opens your throat to prepare it for the sudden beer rush.

Stay relaxed, keep your throat open and let the beer flow down smoothly. If you can’t take the beer at once, it would be best to make a series of quick swallows. You can also try to adjust the angle of the can if you wish to speed up the beer flow.

Choosing The Right Beer

The best beers to shotgun are light beers. We would not recommend shotgunning heavy or dark beers, especially if it’s your first time. Also, shotgunning a high ABV beer is not ideal because you may get too intoxicated. However, you can technically shotgun any beer that comes in a can.

In terms of flavor, personal preferences come to play because what goes down smoothly for you may not be the same for someone else. Rich, creamy beers may prove more difficult to drink fast. However, fairly light-bodied beers are your best bet because they are easily drinkable.

We compiled some of the best beers that are perfect for shotgunning below:

  • Natural Light

This popular craft beer is a light lager, and it is inexpensive. It is well balanced and comes as a light-bodied beer, making it refreshing and highly drinkable. It also has an alcohol content of 4.2 percent, so you don’t have to fear getting drunk too fast.

  • Coors Light

This beer is an American-style light lager. It is clean, crisp and refreshing, with clean notes of malt and relatively low bitterness. Cold lager and cold filtered, you have an incredibly easy-to-drink and refreshing beer. Its 4.2 percent ABV also makes it great for shotgunning.

  • Miller Lite

This American-style pilsner is light, smooth and refreshing. It is a light- to medium-bodied beer with hop-forward flavors and solid malt characters with a clean finish. Its easy drinkability and 4.2 percent ABV make it a crowd-pleaser, a great beer to shotgun.

  • Bud Light

Bud Light is one of the most popular and top-selling beers in the United States, so you have a good chance of finding a can at any event. This quality light lager has premium hops aromas combined with malts and rice notes. It is fresh, clean, light-bodied with some light malt sweetness and a crisp finish. Bud Light had an ABV of 4.2 percent, making it a top option.

Tips for Beginners

While we have discussed the steps for shotgunning a beer, you need to keep some tips in mind for a successful adventure.

They include the following:

  • Choose the Right Type of Beer

As we established earlier, smooth, light beers with minimal carbonation offer the best shotgunning experience. Coors Light, Bud Light, and Miller Lite are some of those beers you’ll find easily at parties and events. You don’t want to choose an IPA or a stout.

You also want to choose a cheap beer so that you won’t have to waste your money on a can of beer that will go down your throat in seconds. Furthermore, your beer should be out of the fridge about an hour before shotgunning to get the best experience.

  • Select the Best Location for Shotgunning Beer

Your location is a critical consideration for a successful shotgun. We discussed how you could shotgun your beer with minimal spillage. However, you can’t avoid spilling some brew, even when you’ve mastered the skill.

So it is vital to pick a place where there are no concerns about getting the floor dirty. Such a place should also ensure easy clean-ups. An outdoor venue will be a great option. For example, you could use the deck of a boat or an open field.

  • Puncture the Right Hole Size

You want to make sure your shotgun hole is neither too big nor too small. The hole should be large enough to allow the beer to flow smoothly and quickly. It should also be small enough to ensure your mouth covers it.

Can You Shotgun Beer With Your Thumb?

Yes, you can shotgun your beer with your thumb. All you need to do is follow the steps discussed above. However, there is a difference in step three.

After making a dent on the can, quickly channel your energy to your fingertip, engaging your thumbnail to apply as much pressure as possible. Sometimes, you may need to try several times before successfully punching through the beer can. You may also want to cut your fingernails a bit if they are too long or bent.

Does Shotgunning Make You Drunk Faster?

Yes, shotgunning a beer tends to get you intoxicated faster than when you drink the beer normally. The quicker you take in alcohol, the quicker you will get drunk. However, factors like weight, height, alcohol tolerance and food consumption also play significant roles.


What are the dangers of shotgunning?

Shotgunning can be dangerous if done improperly. The high pressure can cause the can to explode or injure the person doing the shotgunning.

Is it better to shotgun cold or warm beer?

It’s better to shotgun cold beer because it has less foam and is easier to drink quickly.

How do you shotgun beer without spraying it?

To avoid spraying beer while shotgunning, puncture a hole in the can close to the bottom, tilt it at a 45-degree angle, and drink quickly from the puncture hole.


Shotgunning beer

We’ve explained how to shotgun a beer in simple yet effective steps. Let’s summarize the critical points to keep in mind:

  • Shotgunning a beer involves punching a hole in the beer can before opening the tab and allowing the beer to pour quickly into your mouth.
  • The first step to shotgun a beer is to position the can horizontally. Then create a dent in the can before puncturing a hole in the dented area.
  • Enlarge the hole to ensure quick rushing out of beer. Then raise the beer can vertically, tilt your head slightly, and open the tab to allow the beer to rush down your throat.
  • The best beers for shotgunning are light, low ABV and cheap beers. Examples include Coors Light, Miller Lite, Bud Light and Natural Light.
  • You must choose the right beer type, select the best location, and ensure you puncture a hole of the correct size.

Knowing how to shotgun a beer raises the excitement at events and gives you the edge at drinking games.

Follow the steps above and pretty soon you’ll be shotgunning your beer like a pro!

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