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Filling generic growlers

Discussion in 'Pacific' started by ModernTimesJacob, Feb 13, 2013.

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  1. walterfredo

    walterfredo Savant (395) California Nov 22, 2011 Beer Trader

    Personally, I don't think it should be too big of headache. This is the way it works in every other state (at least most) and it doesn't seem to be headache at all to breweries out of Cali that I've frequented. Some CA breweries might make it out to be headache...but it should be fairly straightforward. For the most part...growlers are usually standard sizes.
  2. rrryanc

    rrryanc Savant (480) California May 19, 2006 Beer Trader

    And for the ones that aren't, the opportunity is there to make a few bucks. Charge standard fill prices for 2 sizes (a 64oz and a 32oz). Want to bring in that 22oz flip-top? They'll fill it, but you're still paying for a 32oz pour. Bring in a non-brewery labeled growler? That's a $1 surcharge for the labeling.
    sirtomtom likes this.
  3. walterfredo

    walterfredo Savant (395) California Nov 22, 2011 Beer Trader

    exactly. Wife and I were at Hill Farmstead a few days after xmas, I brought my 64 oz Klean Kanteen and they filled it without question, and charged me the 2L price. I didn't whine about being shorted 4 oz.

    (do think a $1 surcharge for labeling may be a bit excessive, but it's still an idea)
  4. rrryanc

    rrryanc Savant (480) California May 19, 2006 Beer Trader

    Well, I think they'd market it as a $1 discount for brewery-labeled growlers, but I suspect that would just happen to coincide with a price increase across the board on growlers...
  5. Anyone else see a market for blank growlers with just the warning printed on one side? Hmmmm...
    afrokaze and PaulStoneAnchor like this.
  6. OTB

    OTB Savant (465) California Sep 2, 2011

    We need to abolish these asinine laws because my wife is sick of all those ugly beer jugs taking up space in our wine cellar.:eek:

  7. Exactly. Most brewers currently use the standard brown jug with a marking for 64 oz and a marking for 2 liters. Make it the policy that they will only fill these types of standard growlers and the customer will be charged the 2 liter price.
  8. I can see some breweries silk screening their logos just big enough so that a standard sticker won't cover it entirely.
  9. Arbitrator

    Arbitrator Initiate (0) California Nov 26, 2008

    Oh, is that what the hangup is? Well, let me help.

    This is where my shed was a few months ago:


    This is where it is now. Plus 3 more to come back this weekend, and 2 in the fridge. Notice how the shelf is bowing:


    Hey! Brewers!

    lymph, hophead247, ChugLife and 10 others like this.
  10. flexabull

    flexabull Champion (820) California Mar 9, 2006 Beer Trader

    Hopefully an earthquake doesn't hit, because that shelf doesn't look very sturdy.

    Might help thin out your growler collection a bit though.
    Sarlacc83 and Arbitrator like this.
  11. PMR

    PMR Savant (330) California Mar 31, 2005

    Good point, and a good idea. I always imagine the worst that can happen, and that we'll get crap from folks if we don't accept any container to fill. I imagine my bartenders getting mason jars of random, uncertain size to fill and having to calibrate how large the container is. I wonder if those containers are safe to hold pressure. I imagine putting duct tape around the lid to create a "closed container". Probably the biggest issue is we're often too busy to adequately deal with these sorts of issues, and we want to stand by our product if there's an issue. Accepting any container to fill will certainly result in complications.

    Our margin is very low on these growlers, so I'd be more than happy to reduce our inventory of them as they take up a lot of space and they are a pain to order. Some breweries do charge more for the glass and less for the fills, so their margin structure may need to change if they are to adopt filling other growlers.

    Overall, I'm definitely not against this idea. I'm just concerned folks are going to get frustrated with breweries who choose not to fill any container they bring in with the ABC interpretation in hand. I felt it is important to give some context on why a brewery would choose not to do this.

    Last year I worked on a project for a "universal growler" using a similar approach (one growler format with generic labeling, and affixing tags that would be printed for every brewery). I received lukewarm feedback from the majority of breweries I spoke with for a variety of reasons, so I stopped pursuing the idea. I think a single growler type (or perhaps a large and a small version) that most breweries would deal with would be a step in the right direction rather than an approach that breweries will take whatever container they are given. I'd be happy to pick up where I left off if there is sufficient interest among breweries. I already have the domain names "calgrowl.org" and "calgrowler.org" for this purpose (though they expire on 2/21, so speak up)!

    The Bruery
    TheComish, abecall98, aknight and 6 others like this.
  12. stupac2

    stupac2 Advocate (565) California Feb 22, 2011

    I think this is a fine idea, what should be done to promote it? Also, they both seem to be expired already.
  13. ramnuts

    ramnuts Aficionado (245) Oregon Feb 16, 2009

    As an Oregon resident, where any growler of any type can be filled by any brewery, I find this anguish and teeth gnashing by some CA brewers to be comical. I am aware of the labeling considerations dictated by CA law but that would seem to be easily addressed through the use of string-attached tags, as noted by an earlier poster. All of the alleged worry about how the growler appears (branding? really?), the distress over filling them (use a plastic hose like most places do in PDX) and how secure it against oxidation (isn't that the purchaser's problem?) seems to be much ado about nothing. Give the people their beer! :eek:
  14. RedBeeron

    RedBeeron Savant (295) California Jul 7, 2012 Beer Trader

    I'm taking this as confirmation that the second piece of 2012 RS merch was supposed to be a universal growler. :D
  15. Sebowski

    Sebowski Savant (395) California Jan 11, 2010 Beer Trader

    That doesn't solve having to cover up whatever is screen printed on the growler. Though a policy of only filling growlers that don't show other brewery info would solve that.
  16. Earlycsquid

    Earlycsquid Advocate (520) California Jan 7, 2013 Beer Trader

    Yeah, that was the big rumor of the time and I'm guessing that was exactly it.

    Damn it.
  17. RedBeeron

    RedBeeron Savant (295) California Jul 7, 2012 Beer Trader

    2014, bro. Though had we gotten them in 2012, we could all be growler hipsters.
  18. grilledsquid

    grilledsquid Advocate (565) California Jul 10, 2009 Beer Trader

    A couple of thoughts. Couldn't the use of a light tack adhesive label alleviate the problem of hard-to-remove labels that get layered one on top of another? Making sure a date is indicated at filling should help clarify the contents of the growler as well.
  19. RedBeeron

    RedBeeron Savant (295) California Jul 7, 2012 Beer Trader

    Given what I've read over the course of several threads on the subject of bow asinine CA growler laws are, I think at this point the community at large is willing to jump through nearly any hoop necessary in order to cut down on the sheer volume of growlers necessary to get fills at the establishments we'd like to buy beer from.

    Hell, if all I needed was four each of a 2l swing top, 1l swing top, 64 oz screw top, and 32 oz screw top, I'd only need half as many growlers as I currently own, and I know my collection doesn't really rank amongst the largest.

    The change/clarification (won't argue semantics, because frankly that's secondary to the issue at hand) of CA growler laws is, at least initially, only going to be relevant to the more hardcore of the beer geek populace. Whether it be slightly overpaying on fills of undersized containers, or bringing our own stickers/hang tags, clearly there is money to be made in finding a _reasonable_ method to accommodate our needs.

    Token discounts for filling branded growlers (assuming a comparable increase in fills) is reasonable to accommodate a given breweries homers. And while, long term, that means a given individual will probably pay more, the opportunity cost/convenience is such that I doubt anyone would genuinely be vocal with complaints.

    Obviously, as knowledge of the change spreads, assuming breweries pursue their own due diligence (clearly posting both in store and online which types of growlers they'll fill and how they charge), there should be less push back from the general populace/decreased possibility of Joe schmoe showing up with some mason jars/2l soda bottles wanting to buy beer.

    Again, from what I've gathered, no one wants a genuine wild west attitude toward putting beer into containers for offsite consumption. We just want to find a middle ground that doesn't involve owning a couple hundred pounds of glassware which we have to stash in our car every time we may visit a region where we'd like to fill growlers.

    Obviously, I threw a lot of generalities out and expect to be trolled accordingly.

    Tl;dr we won't be entitled jerkoffs if breweries are willing to work towards accommodating us.
  20. Madirish76

    Madirish76 Savant (300) California Apr 14, 2010 Beer Trader

    I agree with RedBeeron...there is always going to be the idiots of the world that try the mason jar approach. I wouldnt complain if there was standardization of sizes and fill prices. I would prob still to the 1L or even the brauler idea. I love the idea of being able to hit it with CO2 to keep it fresh. I think everyone can agree this is one of the issues with growlers today.

    I think everyone would be happy if we could reduce the number of growlers we own and use standardized size pricing.

    I was very excited to hear there was a possibility of a growler for Reserve Society last year...i understand the challenges, but at this point it is not an unreasonable feat. As Patrick said the breweries didnt want to go along.

    I am hoping the CA breweries will see what their customers want and act accordingly.

    I think Patrick had the right idea...I often thought of something similar.

    If it can be standardized then it takes the question out of it.

    Standardized pricing for sizes and limit the types of vessels to be sealed. The easiest answer is to go with the Stainless or flip top models then there is no need for carrying caps for screw tops and the various sizes of those.

    I know change will be slow, but i am hoping things actually do change and that there wont be resistance from my favorite breweries.

    Patrick carry on the good fight!!
  21. ChugLife

    ChugLife Savant (295) Colorado Aug 13, 2012 Beer Trader

    Easy: "Our beer is best when stored in our branded growler, it retains carbonation and keeps it at its freshest. We will gladly fill your blank growler, but please understand that the quality may be compromised."

    Beautiful idea.

    Filling blank growlers would not be a factor in revenue loss. It will obviously only lead to increased sales(bottles, shirts, glasses, etc.)
    Madirish76 and PaulStoneAnchor like this.
  22. ChugLife

    ChugLife Savant (295) Colorado Aug 13, 2012 Beer Trader

    I love Kleen Kanteens, they keep it so cold.

    I'll be using one of these though...

    lymph and sirtomtom like this.
  23. drewone

    drewone Champion (850) California Sep 18, 2006 Subscriber Beer Trader

    Yes please!
  24. sirtomtom

    sirtomtom Savant (260) California Dec 10, 2010

    I call that my Oregon Growler(since it only gets filled in Oregon, generally at Deschutes). I hope to soon just call it my growler.
    flexabull likes this.
  25. ImJ2x

    ImJ2x Aficionado (175) California Jan 3, 2012

    Slightly off-topic, but my big complaint with CA growlers is fill price. Case in point: my local brewpub often has Stone kegs available for growler fills. And since I have 2 Stone growlers, and Ruination is my fav goto, it only makes sense to fill up. Until you do the math... They will fill my 66oz Stone flip-top for $25, which is MORE THAN TWICE AS MUCH, per ounce, as I pay for 4-packs of Ruination at Total Wine and More. The whole premise of growlers is supposedly to save money for us avid beer consumers. But I find this to be increasingly rare.
    [To Stone's credit, they are the one brewer that DOES offer excellent value for growler fills, at least at their stores. For instance, they do $14 growler fills for EnjoyBy, which is an awesome value for an awesome beer.]
    Beerandraiderfan likes this.
  26. Xul

    Xul Advocate (600) California May 18, 2008

    I thought it was illegal in CA for brewpubs to do growlers of beer that they didn't brew? Considering Stone charges $15 for 2L fills of Ruination, and I'm pretty sure your local brewpub is breaking the law, you didn't pick a great example to make your point about growler pricing.
  27. jodan

    jodan Savant (335) California Jul 24, 2008

    There's a brewpub that'll fill another brewery's beer? They can charge you extra because that's illegal in CA. I think Stone charges $15 for Ruination fills. Actually most breweries seem to be pretty reasonable on their fill prices I think. sure I'd like them to be a little lower, but other than Beachwood and Pizza Port most seem pretty reasonable.
  28. ImJ2x

    ImJ2x Aficionado (175) California Jan 3, 2012

    Well, I live 60 mins from the closest Stone store. I definitely make the drive when necessary (EnjoyBy releases, for example). But, to clarify, my point is simply that growlers were ORIGINALLY conceived as an affordable way for locals to purchase beer. This no longer seems to be the case at all.
  29. jodan

    jodan Savant (335) California Jul 24, 2008

    CA bureaucracy has screwed us over on that front. Your specific example is a problem with that brewpub, but yeah it'd be great to have simple rules like many other state.
  30. ImJ2x

    ImJ2x Aficionado (175) California Jan 3, 2012

    I've heard tales of other states where you can fill your growler at the gas station. I may move, lol.
    jodan likes this.
  31. Ya, for beers sold in 6 or 4 packs it's usually a bad deal. For bomber only or draught only beers, you usually come out ahead with a growler fill.
  32. evilc

    evilc Initiate (0) California Jan 27, 2012

    Any Cali brewery that makes it a headache wants growler sales profit - which is fine - just admit it.
  33. stupac2

    stupac2 Advocate (565) California Feb 22, 2011

    I don't think it's fine. Any brewery that thinks that they'll come out ahead by not allowing generic fills and making up the reduced beer sales with glass sales is insane, or makes terrible beer.
  34. abecall98

    abecall98 Advocate (585) California Aug 11, 2007 Beer Trader

    I really wish they would let you guys fill growlers.
    flexabull likes this.
  35. Me too....
    flexabull and PaulStoneAnchor like this.
  36. mrelizabeth

    mrelizabeth Initiate (0) California Jan 22, 2012

    Wouldn't it be too easy for someone to take off all pertinent identifying information? How would Alpine be able to tell if their growlers are being sold on eBay?

    I like the idea of SS growlers and magnets from individual breweries containing pertinent info. Each brewery wanting to participate could still sell their own glass growlers, but also offer a magnet at minimal cost for folks who want to use their SS.
  37. tyrsis

    tyrsis Savant (470) California Mar 13, 2009 Beer Trader

    Pretty sure magnets don't stick to stainless steel.
  38. Xul

    Xul Advocate (600) California May 18, 2008

    There was a discussion about that in a Societe thread in October - verdict, courtesy of nanobrew.
    mrelizabeth likes this.
  39. mrelizabeth

    mrelizabeth Initiate (0) California Jan 22, 2012

    It's a discussion that deserves to be had again!
  40. Why all the unusual "solutions" being thrown around?
    One brewer I contacted said they were thinking of having a custom sticker made to completely cover another growler and that it would be about $2-$3....

    Hang tags on blank growlers, that's all we need!!!!
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