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Why I hate CA growler laws

Discussion in 'US - Pacific' started by Arbitrator, Sep 3, 2012.

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  1. MLucky

    MLucky Savant (355) California Jul 31, 2010

    I bought a growler from one CA brewery ( who shall remain nameless, in case this might get them in trouble) where they just filled up a big mason jar, but a sticker with the brewery name on it, and scrawled the beer name on the lid.

    Wish more CA breweries were that casual. I've got about five growler bottles in the closet, and I rarely buy 'em anymore because I don't have the space to store 'em.
  2. mrkrispy

    mrkrispy Savant (410) California Apr 5, 2006

    I don't know why you would compare them, who else is selling a comparable stainless steel growler for less than $10? Most screw cap growlers are $2 glass jugs that can't hold carbonation very long. The stainless and swing-top glass growlers are a much better use of money if you don't always drink the growlers same day (which is my case).

    I understand breweries wanting to keep costs low and give customers choices (I prefer the latter). However, I feel if you are going to sell growler fills at a premium price, treat the beer comparably - which Societe does. Can't say the same for several other local places selling fills for $18+, top filling them, crappy tin screw caps, etc
  3. tyrsis

    tyrsis Savant (360) California Mar 13, 2009

    Then why sell two flip top growlers at $25 each? Why not have the option for a cheaper one? As it stands now, I hit their tasting room once a month maybe. If I had a five dollar growler, I'd be there once a week.
    jamex likes this.
  4. pinkgrenade

    pinkgrenade Savant (250) California Aug 19, 2011

    its not a convincing argument in the slightest. if it were a small loophole or something that was okay, don't you think every brewery would be practicing the same way and no one would be left complaining?

    breweries arent out there to sell a million growlers and make a ton of profit off the vessel, and hopefully soon the laws will be changed
  5. pinkgrenade

    pinkgrenade Savant (250) California Aug 19, 2011

    also, breweries shouldn't be casual. its a law, and having your license taken away because you think its okay to slap a sticker on a mason jar is a pretty stupid way to lose your business. whether or not everyone thinks its a stupid law(which we all do, and old) it would be pretty silly not to adhere to the rules that allow you to be in business
    IceAce likes this.
  6. IceAce

    IceAce Advocate (560) California Jan 8, 2004


    Winner, winner! Attempting to exploit what one brewer may interpret as a loophole will (eventually) get your butt hauled off to court. The State of California is broke and the ABC and Franchise Tax Board are looking everywhere for additional money and, as a result, brewers are under more scrutiny than ever. Every brewer I know protects his ABC License with the fervor of a starving Pit Bull.

    In my opinion, the best way to achieve legislative reform would be to collectively show our Representatives the benefits of a relaxed law. For example, let's project that relaxing the current restrictive growler law would result in an increase in sales of 50%. As a result, the state tax board will also see an increase of the same proportion...and it turns into a win-win situation for everyone.

    Simply standing around referring to a law as archaic and unfair isn't going to get us anywhere.
  7. My point with posting the actual law was to show that filling a blank growler, or a pre-printed growler (a growler that has its label printed on it is the same in the eyes of the state/federal gov. as one that has a paper label applied), or even a mason jar for that matter is completely within the law, as long as once filled with beer it is labeled appropriately.

    There is a different section within the ABC laws that states what it takes for a label to be correct. The label also must go through federal label approval, which has it's own set of rules.

    Once a brewery has CA state and Federal label approval the label can be applied to any growler or container. The important part is that the new label covers the existing printed label, and that it complies with state and federal requirements. Otherwise you are dealing with "truth in labeling". I would not want a label put next to ours from a different brewery then the customer getting confused as to which beer is actually in the growler, especially if it wasn't any good!
    jtmartino, flexabull and leedorham like this.
  8. For those of you that think breweries are conveniently interpreting a law, trying to make a profit from the sale of a growler, remember breweries are a business, we are always at least thinking about profit.
  9. jtmartino

    jtmartino Savant (470) California Dec 11, 2010

    Actually, yes they are. See below.

    Bingo.

    Pinkgrenade and others who ignorantly believe their favorite breweries to be altruistic and overly generous need to read this ^.
  10. On the old forums I posted the law several times and came to the same conclusion that aleindustries did.

    The only response from a brewer I got was Patrick Rue chimed in and said "It's not that simple"
  11. Wouldn'nt argue with Patrick due to his law training, however my local Calif. Brewery will fill anybody's growler. They are happy to slap their label on top of someone else's logo; all the better for them, and the consumer (me).
    KevSal likes this.
  12. funkel81

    funkel81 Savant (410) California Jan 23, 2011


    "it's not that simple" - bc we wouldnt make money on glass sales...
    Arbitrator and alfrantzell like this.
  13. KevSal

    KevSal Advocate (585) California Oct 17, 2010

    Iso: lobos growler pesto olive oil...

    Oh ya CAs laws are a drag. Ive got one unmarked growler swing top I would use for everything if I could.

    Could u imagine if we could get growler fills at whole foods here? Man some people are lucky
  14. pinkgrenade

    pinkgrenade Savant (250) California Aug 19, 2011

    i hate people who fill their growlers with olive oil then bring them back and try to reuse them. and are surprised they aren't clean!
  15. BoRaeCho

    BoRaeCho Savant (250) California Nov 25, 2010

    Quit bitching and suck it up like a man.....the full growlers that is!
  16. Stopped at a brewery yesterday, and the girl working (who obviously wasn't a "Beer" person) said they would fill any growler. I asked if she knew that was against state law, and she said "No, but it doesn't surprise me since this place has been in trouble a few times".
    pmarlowe likes this.
  17. What brewery?
    pinkgrenade likes this.
  18. RedBeeron

    RedBeeron Savant (250) California Jul 7, 2012

    $25 dollars for a growler is asanine, even if it were made of solid gold.

    Which is tragic, because I was really impressed by Societe when they did a tap takeover at Neighborhood in July. Not worth it to drive down from OC though if im dropping $50 just on hardware that I'll only reuse maybe once a month when I'm visiting family out there?
  19. leedorham

    leedorham Champion (835) Washington Apr 27, 2006

    Push hatred from your heart, make room for love, and learn to love others regardless of their growler hygiene.
    PaulStoneAnchor and MarkIntihar like this.
  20. I agree. I am not sure $25 is worth it for a growler, but the Societe growlers are beatifully awesome. Had a pal fly back to SF last yesterday from SD. Before going to the airport he swung by and picked up a couple of Societe growlers. I saw him at around 9pm that night and the Dandy growler was still cold. Pretty impressive. Dandy was also impressive. Great brewery.
  21. pinkgrenade

    pinkgrenade Savant (250) California Aug 19, 2011

    there will never be any love for people that leave their dirty growlers fermenting full of mold for me to open a year later and explode in my face
    afrokaze likes this.
  22. IceAce

    IceAce Advocate (560) California Jan 8, 2004

    I'm with you...customers will say, "Oh, I cleaned it as soon as I finished it."

    Then, when you crack the seal, it goes....."Pffffffffffffffffftttttttt" :eek:
  23. elNopalero

    elNopalero Advocate (665) Texas Oct 14, 2009

    After reading this forum I've added Ale Industries to my "visit when in the East Bay" list.

    After being frustrated by Texas' arcane beer laws I was looking forward to some California (beer drinking) liberalism! But the growler policy out here is just plain frustrating.

    If I wasn't so limited on space I would have growlers for Speakeasy, Lagunitas, Drakes, and Magnolia (because I like their design, I just wish their fills weren't so expensive) in addition to my Russian River flip-top. But it's just not worth it for places I'll visit every couple of months if I'm lucky.

    As for what do I do with my old growlers? I keep a half-gallon of drinking water in the car for emergencies. And I take the empties to get filled with homebrew whenever my friend has something ready.
  24. abecall98

    abecall98 Advocate (530) California Aug 11, 2007

    Imagine years down the road when everybody starts having growler collections and competitions. Empty growlers are the new "whalez".
    PaulStoneAnchor likes this.
  25. RandomBattle

    RandomBattle Savant (265) New York Jun 25, 2010

    While I'm guessing the answer is No, can you fill growlers at (select) bars or any place that does growler fills that isn't a brewery? And if so does the growler have to have the logo of said destination. Here in NY, bars (select bars), distributors, and breweries will fill up the growler regardless of logo, just an FYI there. I'm not from Cali so I don't know if you can only get growlers from the brewery or not, I'm guessing that it's a brewery only type deal
  26. 3rdto1st

    3rdto1st Savant (260) California Dec 1, 2011

    It can still make that noise if it had sanitizer in it, just sayin.
  27. DrAwkward82

    DrAwkward82 Savant (305) California Apr 16, 2005

    Breweries only here. I've enjoyed getting growler fills of whatever awesome stuff is on tap at beer bars like Blind Tiger Alehouse and Gingerman when I'm in NYC, but we're eons away from having that sort of option in CA.
  28. RandomBattle

    RandomBattle Savant (265) New York Jun 25, 2010

    I think the brewery only factor may suck more then the growler laws lol...what a pain in the ass that is, I feel bad for you Cali BA's.
  29. I wonder if the ABC monitors this board & pays AE a little visit....
  30. Thus far we've never actually seen this law enforced. I have no reason to believe that a brewery would actually lose its license if it did this--there's no precedence for such drastic consequences. Certainly Ale Industries hasn't.
  31. Working on round 2 with the growler laws. Going to try and approach this from another angle.

    Regarding growler cleaning, just use hot water. Sanitizer, iodophor like compounds specifically will break down the seal (screw top) of your growler. Tender at Great Basin was nice enough to inform me after my growler was just stankified.
    abecall98 likes this.
  32. I developed a new level of hatred for CA growler laws while visiting Birmingham, AL last week. I was able to fill up multiple liter swing-top growlers that my friend had of stuff like Founders Devil Dancer and Dirty Bastard, Bell's Two Hearted, and some local B'Ham beers from Good People and Cahaba. This was just at the good ol' package store aka liquor store. I never thought Alabama would be better than California for beer in any way, but it wins in growler laws. I suppose this along with the recent law change allowing beers over 6% abv there means craft beer in Alabama is on its way up.
  33. IceAce

    IceAce Advocate (560) California Jan 8, 2004


    Yep...unless you try to homebrew. Then you get a shiny pair of silver bracelets.
  34. Really? Didn't know that. Good thing my buddy decided home brewing was not for him and quit after one batch.
  35. jamex

    jamex Savant (275) California Feb 13, 2010

    I was in Societe's brewery and saw some guys (out of towners) walk in and buy one of each of their growler fills for each beer they had. I believe they had 6 beers on tap. So they not only paid for 6 fills, but 6 growlers (@ $25 each). Total must have been over $200.

    La Jolla Brew House?
  36. Sorry for the necro post but I had a meeting with a district office manager and an investigator at the ABC today.

    Basically, the explained it would ok if a brewery filled a growler and affixed the corresponding beer label on the growler, with gov required warnings, etc.

    It is ILLEGAL for a bar to fill a growler unless that company was producing the beer though.

    So the Stone store in Pasadena can fill a blank growler with Stone IPA and put their label on it. Toronado cannot fill a growler at all. No exceptions, according to the ABC.
    stupac2, Arbitrator and tjensen3618 like this.
  37. elNopalero

    elNopalero Advocate (665) Texas Oct 14, 2009

    I think this is encouraging--it makes me excited for the day when I can get any growlers filled at any brewery.

    What if a bar began brewing their own beer? Or contract brewing? Would that be sufficient to eek through a loophole? Random question on a long-dormant post!
  38. At this point breweries are so use to and enjoy the extra revenue and product placement that a growler with their logo shows, that I sort of doubt we'll see a brewery who has growlers allow anything but theirs citing the provisions of the law that favors their position of getting you to purchase their brand.
  39. I'd rather like to think at least Firestone will fill other growler if this newer interpretation of the law is passed on to them by the ABC. They at least aren't making obscene profits on their growlers(I'm charged $5.00 for glass when I visit, if I forget to bring my FW growler)
  40. If a bar brewed their own beer they could fill growlers with (only) their own beer.
    sirtomtom likes this.
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