CA Growler Law Revisions?

Discussion in 'Pacific' started by thome50, Jun 3, 2012.

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  1. thome50

    thome50 Initiate (61) Dec 10, 2006 California
    Beer Trader

    I know this topic comes up once a quarter or so but I had a question that I've never seemingly gotten answered here or in research into the law. I recently moved and came across a growler I had gotten at Yard House back in the Fall of 2003. (Costa Mesa location)


    Hard to see in the picture but it's branded with Yard House's name and information and the various government alcohol warnings as any other current growler has. A blurb about sanitizing the growler before reusing and the address of Yard House's corporate office in Irvine.

    It also has this on the handle:


    They had business card sized inserts into the plastic sleeve that listed the beer, brewery, address and phone number of brewery and the alcohol percentage of the beer.

    Having looked online and various threads here this seems to meet the requirements of the current growler laws in the state of California. Any reason this wouldn't still qualify for fills if someone/some bar was to simply buy generic growlers and do this card idea?

    I also have no idea if Yard House even fills growlers anymore. I haven't been to one in several years with the offerings now days being much better.
    Dankbeers619 likes this.
  2. evilc

    evilc Initiate (0) Jan 27, 2012 California

    Interesting. That's what's needed though. I have 40 freaking growlers, it's so dumb. CA is the land of "oh we are so green and don't waste anything! " Ok - then make a universal growler legal to fill ANYWHERE.
    gjahn123, sbuysse, xhuskr and 8 others like this.
  3. jlt6116

    jlt6116 Initiate (0) Oct 13, 2009 California

    I went to a brewery where they just put a sticker on the growler covering the other brewery's name. Seemed that worked for them.
    hoserking and afrokaze like this.
  4. SHODriver

    SHODriver Poo-Bah (1,558) Aug 13, 2010 Louisiana
    Beer Trader

    you do understand that that would make sense, which is not allowed in government or legislation anymore?
  5. tjensen3618

    tjensen3618 Initiate (0) Mar 23, 2008 California

    There was a bunch of good info on the other forums...

    Some of the things I remember/learned.
    1.) You have to be a brewer to legally fill growlers and can only fill with your own beer; what Yardhouse was doing is illegal.
    2.) A sticker or hangtag on a blank growler would work, but you'd have to have a blank growler, and you'd have to convince the brewers to get on board with this, which would potentially hurt their overpriced growler sales.
    3.) There was an effort to get a "Brewed in California" growler made, allowing you to have that one growler and filling it at any brewer in the state. I don't think the brewers liked that idea and it was shot down.
  6. grilledsquid

    grilledsquid Devotee (485) Jul 10, 2009 California
    Beer Trader

    I'm curious which brewers were opposed to this idea. I think most of the breweries I've been to sold growlers at an ok price, but there's one LA area brewery that sells their glass for $20 and I was pretty put off by this.
  7. thome50

    thome50 Initiate (61) Dec 10, 2006 California
    Beer Trader

    Regarding 1), I wondered about this but Yard House is a pretty big establishment. I really doubt they were oblivious to the law even though craft beer was still in a relatively young state here in the US at that point. My question was if this law changed since 2003 and I've yet to hear an answer to that.

    2) This is what I feel is really what is putting a big road block in the way of a universal growler. Even the breweries that sell glass for $5 are still making a profit. Hard to convince a company to stop selling something that is making them money and I don't totally fault them for it.

    3) Signed this petition but doubted it would ever have legs as this community is too small and the issue fairly trivial in this chaotic state. I do believe that Patrick Rue from Bruery would like to spearhead such an initiative, as rumors on other threads have stated, but I'm still not convinced he has enough pull to make this happen in the next few years, let alone months. (All the best thought!)
  8. tjensen3618

    tjensen3618 Initiate (0) Mar 23, 2008 California

    If I remember correctly BA misterclean was in the process, or had actually had legislation written for a new growler law.
    He or somebody else came on BA and said that there was very little support from either the brewer's or associated trade groups (Brewers Association?).
    Of course this is all going off of memory about a year ago or more, so take it with a grain of salt.
  9. litheum94

    litheum94 Initiate (0) Dec 29, 2008 California

    I have always thought that this would be the obvious way around our stupid growler laws, but haven't come across a brewery yet that does this. Unless they're unique, I don't need to buy a new damn growler for every brewery I visit.
  10. MisterClean

    MisterClean Initiate (0) Jan 11, 2008 California

    BP&C 25200:

    25200. All beer sold in this State shall have a label affixed to the package or container thereof, upon which shall appear the true and correct name and address of the manufacturer of the beer, and also the true and correct name of the bottler of the beer if other than the manufacturer. No manufacturer, importer, or wholesaler of
    beer shall use a container or carton as a package or container of a
    beer other than such beer as is manufactured by the manufacturer
    whose name or brand of beer appears upon the container or carton, or
    use as a package or container of a beer a container or carton which
    bears the name of a manufacturer of beer or the brand of any beer
    other than those of the manufacturer of the beer contained in the
    container or carton.

    As long as it has the manufacturer's name and the place that filled the growler, it's all kosher according to state law. They've been thinking of using smart codes too.
  11. stupac2

    stupac2 Zealot (518) Feb 22, 2011 California
    Beer Trader

    I was always pretty sure that the "must be brewery-branded glass" thing was bullshit. I wish the breweries would drop the crap and accept other growlers.
  12. MisterClean

    MisterClean Initiate (0) Jan 11, 2008 California

    I feel you. At Port you can have their growlers filled at any location. Then again, it has all three address locations on the freaking growler (at the time). I've also submitted some sample legislation, but it appears that our Legislature is more concerned with blueberry commissions and creating budgets that are not balanced, rather than signing legislation that would increase sales, create jobs, and add to the tax base all at the hands of the commercial craft brew industry. Go figure. :confused:
  13. stupac2

    stupac2 Zealot (518) Feb 22, 2011 California
    Beer Trader

    Well, to be fair, it might actually decrease employment marginally by resulting in fewer glass sales. However, the main reason for this change is because the current system is absolutely ridiculously retarded.
  14. MisterClean

    MisterClean Initiate (0) Jan 11, 2008 California

    You think so? I don't purchase growlers except on rare, rare occasions. I have maybe 5, and 2 were raffle prizes. If bars, pubs, etc. sold growlers, it would be a huge boon for the craft beer business, the amount of money raised through beer sold in California would offset glassware sales in a matter of days.
  15. afrokaze

    afrokaze Zealot (580) Jun 12, 2009 Arizona
    Industry Beer Trader

    I love growlers in theory but I only have 3 because it's not worth it to have a collection of stuff that can only be used once or twice. There's no reason breweries can't figure this out, and I can't imagine why they wouldn't want to. There are some exception though, I just went to a new local brewery and their growler was blank but they print out nice big hang tags with their logo, address and the fill. Wish more places did this, but also wish the laws would change so I could go get fills at local bars too, then I'd be set all the time...
  16. shawnrocker

    shawnrocker Initiate (0) May 1, 2012

    I like Jim's, from Lightning Brewery, take on CAs growler laws. He prints stick on labels, just like the ones you find on tons of beers in the store (ie Budweiser), and just sticks the appropriate label on whatever growler you bring in. He just slaps it on top of the printed other-brewery's label on the growler then puts a rubber band around it in case it doesn't stick. I've read the CA growler law and don't understand why everybody else doesn't adopt that policy - it completely complies with the law and I don't end up with a million growlers, for which I have and thank Jim for having 1 less. Plus their Elemental Pilsner is not a bad beer at all.
  17. stupac2

    stupac2 Zealot (518) Feb 22, 2011 California
    Beer Trader

    It's hard to tell. I mean, how many people are there like you who would end up buying more fills? And when you buy more fills does that add to your total beer consumption, or do you buy fewer bottles? Are the bottles you buy from in-state or out-of-state? Did you buy them in CA bottleshops? All of those things will matter to whether or not you spend more money (plus the thing I pointed out before with dudes who have lots of glass, they stop buying glass, do they buy more beer to compensate?).

    Anyway, since we're in a mini-depression right now I totally get why everyone wants to link everything to jobs, but there are plenty of things that may or may not end up making jobs that are good ideas for other reasons. If you want to make jobs, we should burn down the thicket of pointless occupational licensing that only rewards incumbents at the expense of customers/new starts. (At the state level, at the national level there are a lot of much better things to do, like repair/improve our crumbling infrastructure. But hey, it's not like we can borrow at negative real rates right now, making doing something like that actually a positive investment even if it has a 1:1 economic return (and in reality it's more). Frustrating.)
  18. evilc

    evilc Initiate (0) Jan 27, 2012 California

    I love the brewers who have $24 growlers like Hess. Just kidding.
  19. 01Ryan10

    01Ryan10 Initiate (0) Sep 10, 2011 California

    I thought the reason for Brewery specific growlers is for traceablility? For legal reasons, the beer needs to be traced back to the brewer that filled the growler right? I'm not sure how the Brauler will circumvent this.
  20. FunkyMacGroovin

    FunkyMacGroovin Initiate (0) Sep 22, 2009 California

    Right now I'd be content if you could refill a brewery-branded growler with their beer at offsite locations. ISO Whole Foods growler fills.
    afrokaze likes this.
  21. tyrsis

    tyrsis Disciple (321) Mar 13, 2009 California
    Beer Trader

    I think it's more about reducing the brewery's overhead. If I come to fill a growler, it costs basically nothing for the brewery to do that. They're not packaging, they're not distributing. They're just selling beer directly to me.

    It's the reason you see so many tasting rooms exploding right now. Breweries are making absolute BANK off their tasting rooms now.
  22. pinkgrenade

    pinkgrenade Aspirant (245) Aug 19, 2011 California
    Beer Trader

    from my understanding, the law regarding that is that only brewers can fill it with their beer because you have to brew on site in order to fill a growler. so thats why you cant fill your ballast point growler at a bar with ballast point beer, its not legal even though you are filling the breweries growler with their beer.
  23. evilc

    evilc Initiate (0) Jan 27, 2012 California

    Oggis fills onsite at all of their locations, half don't have any brewing system.
  24. 01Ryan10

    01Ryan10 Initiate (0) Sep 10, 2011 California

    But it's an Oggis growler, right? I'd think the company is important, not which location you got it at.
  25. evilc

    evilc Initiate (0) Jan 27, 2012 California

    Yes, was commenting regarding the statement "you have to brew on site in order to fill a growler."
  26. cquiroga

    cquiroga Initiate (169) Oct 14, 2004 California

    Conveniently, you've ignored the implications of two points of the legislature that you posted but decided NOT to highlight, namely. . .

    I might have this wrong here (it looks to me like there is a typographical error, where the bolded "beer" should be "container or carton"), but what I think this is saying is that you cannot use a package if the brewery themselves does not also use that same package. So if you had a blank growler, you would need buy-in from the brewer who creates the beer and they would need to use those blank growlers as well (not exclusively, of course) in order for you to use it at another location.

    and 2)
    And this clause states that you cannot have OTHER breweries named on the growler in addition to the brewer whose beer is in the growler. So while a blank-growler-with-tag would work (again, provided the manufacturing brewery accepts blank growlers themselves), a branded growler with another brewery's name on it or with MULTIPLE breweries' names on it would not work.

    So I think this law, as written, actually implies that you could theoretically use a blank growler (as long as X brewery accepts blank growlers) and have it filled at, say, a Whole Foods as long as the clear name and address of the brewery AND the Whole Foods appear on the growler. But I thought there was actually some separate clause that specified the "manufacturer" (aka "brewer") and the bottler had to be at the same physical address in the state of California.

    It'd be great, as a matter of convenience, if some of these restrictions changed. But I don't think the blank growler idea is one that could be unilaterally employed within the current legislature, for several reasons.
    alwaysanswerb likes this.
  27. HoppySuds

    HoppySuds Initiate (0) Aug 6, 2011 California
    Beer Trader

    I think an interesting point here is that no where does it mention retailers. If you are a manufacturer then you cannot fill a container with someone else's name on it. But I think that if your growler is blank and they put a sticker on it with required labeling information on it then they should be clear.
  28. grilledsquid

    grilledsquid Devotee (485) Jul 10, 2009 California
    Beer Trader

    Since breweries seem to be so resistant to this, I could see them charging for the sticker should the laws ever change to allow for blank universal growlers. :slight_frown:
  29. tjensen3618

    tjensen3618 Initiate (0) Mar 23, 2008 California

    I've gone back and forth on whether or not retailers can fill growlers, provided they supply the correct information.

    I even went so far as to create a simple mock sticker last year, to show how easy it would be for The Bruery to fill growlers at Provisions. Patrick Rue chimed in and basically said it's not that simple, it won't work...

    Reading the law for the 1,000th time, I don't see how this wouldn't work.
  30. cquiroga

    cquiroga Initiate (169) Oct 14, 2004 California

    This is not the entirety of the legislature relating to packaging and labeling of beer. Pretty sure there's another part that explicitly prohibits retailers from filling containers of any type.
  31. alwaysanswerb

    alwaysanswerb Initiate (0) Jun 28, 2010 California

    Yes, you're on the money here. The last clause definitely prohibits filling other brewers' marked growlers, even if you throw a sticker over their identifying information.

    I do obviously support a revision to the law, but I'm not personally married to the universal growler idea. I do like sometimes buying breweries' growlers as keepsakes, especially if they've put some effort into the design or the glass is cool looking or something (see: Deschutes.) I'd just like to be able to take the growlers I have and fill them elsewhere, as is allowed in other states. If I only have my Stone growler in my trunk, no problem! Also, the universal growler idea would still prevent us being able to fill and return growlers we receive from out of state breweries in trades, which is no fun.
  32. MisterClean

    MisterClean Initiate (0) Jan 11, 2008 California

    See Hoppy Suds, says nothing of retailers, but more importantly, the specific licenses that are spoken for in the Business & Professions Code at which my proposed growler law includes "a brewpub-restaurant license and an on-sale general license with respect to beer and wine."

    Here's my interpretation of what Patrick Rue (a former licensed attorney) did not say from TJensen's post: Intent of legislation is 3/4 of the law. If the intent of the original bill (I don't know what AB or SB number it came from) was to prohibit "a brewpub-restaurant license and an on-sale general license with respect to beer and wine" from selling beer without labels, then that is how the law must be interpreted. In spite of statute only referring to "a manufacturer, importer, or wholesaler of beer." That is what makes it "No so simple."

    I've also spoken with CSBA on this issue as well. While only a small majority supports universal growlers, they have not pushed for the law yet. Other items in the past have been higher priority issues for them, which they have won: tasting room health regulations and fermented beverages with caffeine. This may be on their to do list, but as you can see, the majority of small brewers would be favoring the other priorities I just named.
  33. pinkgrenade

    pinkgrenade Aspirant (245) Aug 19, 2011 California
    Beer Trader

    they have a license that is an extension of the brewery. also how stone operates in south park without brewing on site!
    evilc likes this.
  34. tjensen3618

    tjensen3618 Initiate (0) Mar 23, 2008 California

    The Stone store in South Park has a Type 01- Beer Manufacturer license.

    I looked up 2 Oggi's without brewing systems, Del Mar and Orange, both have a Type 47- On-Sale General Eating Place license.
  35. jlt6116

    jlt6116 Initiate (0) Oct 13, 2009 California

    Agreed. I hate having all the damn glassware. It looks nice, but storing it sucks.
  36. dfillius

    dfillius Meyvn (1,079) Jan 15, 2006 Minnesota

    Just got the Alesmith Anvil in my email and in the next 60 days they are going to start pouring into unmarked growlers and affixing a tag in some way. Glad to hear that more breweries are starting to do this!
    drewone likes this.
  37. grilledsquid

    grilledsquid Devotee (485) Jul 10, 2009 California
    Beer Trader

    Props on the avatar. :grinning:
    dfillius likes this.
  38. MacNCheese

    MacNCheese Initiate (0) Dec 10, 2011 California

    Alesmith will only pour their 10 year round beers into unmarked growlers, per the email. Their specalities they fill into the 32oz grumbler still has to be an Alesmith one.
  39. tjensen3618

    tjensen3618 Initiate (0) Mar 23, 2008 California

    Thanks for bumping this old thread.
    Wow, I was spot on a year ago, well before the ABC clarification. It's amazing what information you can gain from reading the actual law that you are purportedly trying to follow. It's unfortunate that no brewers took the initiative to do anything back then.
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