I'd like to buy a 5 or 6 gallon container for drinking water. I don't like plastic. One option is a glass carboy. But it's easy to break a glass carboy. Another option is a metal container. I guess one option can be aluminum or galvanized milk can. I searched the web and all I found were old vintage milk cans which are pretty expensive. Are aluminum or galvanized milk cans (or water cans) still produced? Do you have a better suggestion for a can for storing drinking water (not plastic)?


  • This question appears to be off-topic because it is about recommending a store.
    – rumtscho
    Oct 23, 2014 at 15:22
  • 2
    While there may not be current production of galvanized milk cans, 5, 10, and 15 gallon stainless steel pitchers are commonly used in the dairy industry. While relatively expensive ($150+), these pails are sealable, durable, easy to clean, and not plastic. A google search for "5 gallon stainless steel milk pail" or "dairy supply" will reveal numerous sources. Oct 24, 2014 at 2:25
  • Reopening, the edit made the question on topic.
    – rumtscho
    Oct 24, 2014 at 11:27
  • Why don't you like plastic?
    – talon8
    Oct 24, 2014 at 15:25
  • You typically didn't transport glass carboys as-is. You'd pack them in straw in a wicker basket, to help cushion them ... which gets rather large and awkward for most situations. If the milk jugs are too expensive for you, you can get refurbished beer kegs in that size for under $100, but you might need a pump to get the water back out easily.
    – Joe
    Oct 24, 2014 at 15:35

2 Answers 2


Use a bucket.

Lid sold separately, about ~20 for the two of them. Alternatively, you can pick up an oak barrel. They tend to be much more expensive in the 150-200 range. You could make your own container out of clay, though price effectiveness is questionable

More to the point, I think you underestimate the utility and glory that is plastic. Any container will flavor the water, plastic least so. Plastic is the lightest especially for its durability. It's incredibly cheap. It's safe (Don't let BPA alarmists mislead you, containers exhibit safe levels or they wouldn't be approved by the FDA. It's far more worrying how much of it winds up in other places.) It doesn't rust, and is non-porous. It is transparent, which allows natural sunlight to decontaminate drinking water from harmful microbes. It is hypoallergenic.

Overall plastic is pretty neat, and I strongly recommend you reconsider your aversion to it.

  • If you're going the plastic route, don't use a bucket; the weight of a 5 gal of water on those little tiny handles sucks. Instead, get a plastic jerry can. Which then made me wonder if someone still made/sold metal jerry cans in blue (to mark it as water & not fuel), and yes, they do.
    – Joe
    Oct 30, 2014 at 3:52
  • I couldn't agree more about the plastic thing. Lightweight, hygienic, transparent, and scientifically shown to not be icky. What's not to love??
    – Jolenealaska
    Oct 30, 2014 at 8:53
  • And make sure you get food-safe plastic buckets. Check your local homebrewing shop - they will have a wide selection.
    – john3103
    Oct 31, 2014 at 16:27

There's only one thing that I can think of that might fit all of your requirements (not fragile, not plastic, food safe, inexpensive), but the last one only works if you have a good source of animal organs:

  • a zahako (aka 'bota bag' aka 'wineskin' or 'waterskin')

If you want to make one out of normal leather, instead of internal organs, you'll need to coat the inside in pitch or wax to make sure it's water proof.

You could also potentially get commecially produed ones, but some have plastic linings. You can get ones with latex linings, but I found there to be a bit of an aftertaste for the first dozen or so uses. (and we start getting back into the issues of expense)

  • I would've said gourds, but those are more fragile. (although it might be acceptable if a were thick-walled)
    – Joe
    Oct 30, 2014 at 3:44

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