Filling generic growlers

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

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  1. jasonmason

    jasonmason Initiate (174) Oct 6, 2004 California

    I get your point, I just do not agree with it.

    You think that taking your approach will force breweries to move on the subject. And in a sense, you're right. But the way you propose going about it is extraordinarily haughty and entitled. You have an idea how you want this scenario to play out, and so you feel that 'any means necessary' can be taken to get this resolved, and now.

    The breweries are not yours. Like it or not, they can conduct their business how they see fit. You want to, in your own words, force them into making a business decision in what YOU consider a reasonable time frame.

    No one here has defended the vagaries of the law. Proactively threatening legal ramifications over the labeling of growlers in the time frame YOU are happy with, however, seems pretty damn short sighted.
  2. kotayk

    kotayk Initiate (0) Feb 22, 2011 California

    "I never said anything about having it right now. That's what you morons came up with. Instead, I'm lighting a fire under the feet of breweries who have been saying, for years, "Well, we're just following the law." No - you're not, and you never were. Perhaps by punching them in the pocketbook, I can incentivize them to start working on their growler-side business - which can bring a universal solution along with law compliance."

    This is a great point Mike - There does not seem to be any sort of standardization when breweries fill growlers.

    Stone Pasadena -Has a tag - that lists the ABV (and the tag its self has the beers label artwork)
    El Segundo - Also a tag (blank) that they write the name of the beer and ABV
    Golden road - Nothing. Just a GRB growler, no name no ABV.
    Kern - The cap sometimes will have a letter on it (i.e. Citra fill will have a cap that says C, other citra fills nothing)
  3. jasonmason

    jasonmason Initiate (174) Oct 6, 2004 California

    Just to clarify one other point, mike: to claim you don't want it on your time frame is contradictory, and disingenuous.

    You somehow don't think that you contacting the ABC is not putting this on the time frame you want? Saying 'they now know the ABC knows' doesn't suddenly put this on your schedule, instead of theirs?

    You sure have a hell of a lot of arrogance. You may very well get growler fills shut down entirely at some places over this.
  4. Rocket80

    Rocket80 Initiate (156) Nov 18, 2011 California

    I think we are over-reacting to the enforcement methods of the ABC - I work for a government agency that uses a 'complaint based enforcement' system and every single time we receive a complaint, we give the alleged offender the opportunity to rectify their behavior and make things right before going after them more aggressively - especially when the rules/law are not crystal clear, like in this situation.

    This is how it will work, the ABC will receive the complaint, investigate it if they feel like it, and if they determine the brewery is not in compliance they will contact them and tell them to get in compliance - the brewery will comply, and that will be the end of the story. No one is losing their liquor license or getting growler sales shut down.
  5. MikeTen

    MikeTen Initiate (0) Apr 3, 2009 California

    It's possible that pushing the breweries in that direction may not produce a universal solution. But they've been lazy about it for years, if not decades. No one even paid attention to what the law said (which is why they're not following it properly).

    Forcing them to look at the law, to REALLY pay attention to it, while money is on the line, is the only way to get breweries to start thinking aggressively about how to approach this. Otherwise they'll devote resources to thinking about how to brew their next IPA instead of thinking about how best to comply with the law from a consumer and business standpoint. By forcing them to look at it, my hope is that they'll come up with a smart solution.

    Clever ideas happen under pressure.

    It's possible all they will do is just come up with labels for their beers and still decide not to fill anyone else's glass. That's cool. But at least they've considered the idea instead of just dismissing it like they have for decades. At least they'll stop saying "Oh it's the law" when it is a law they haven't even been following properly.

    I'd argue that entering into the business of selling alcohol in growlers without understanding the growler law is more short-sighted. Again, what people forget is that what the breweries are doing right now is illegal. And it's definitely ironic that the statute they were using to bust the consumer's balls can now be used to bust theirs.
    rrryanc likes this.
  6. 3rdto1st

    3rdto1st Aspirant (215) Dec 1, 2011 California

    To me, this is the strongest point you are making.

    Asking breweries to fill generics and having them say "it's against the law" implies they know the law. And if they know the law, they know they are breaking it by not labeling correctly. Choosing to break one part of the law while using another to uphold a structure that is profitable for them is argument enough for me that they care about what's best for them and not the consumer. That and the fact that they're, you know, a business...

    That said, I think an email to the breweries to inform them this wont stand would have been good and then go to the ABC, not the reverse.
  7. jtmartino

    jtmartino Initiate (0) Dec 11, 2010 California
    Beer Trader

    This is not a big issue. The only hurdle here is getting label approval by the ABC, which they claim can take up to 30 days.

    To clarify the simplicity of this issue, I've drafted up a 1-day plan of action for breweries in the state of California who want to comply with this clarification of the law. It is unlikely any of them will read it, but that's not the point.

    1. Figure out how you want to label your growlers (a sticker, a hanging tag, a piece of paper, etc.) I recommend a hanging tag or a paper-based approach that can be taped to the container. Stickers can be expensive and a PITA to remove in the future. A piece of paper would be nice because it could 1) obscure the label of another brewery's growler and 2) be inexpensive and easy to use.

    2. Draft a template for your growler labels. The template will need to have all info required by the ABC, and should be as simple as possible to ensure quick approval. All text with the brewery's logo would be fine.

    3. Create labels for all current and upcoming beers using previously-generated template. Should take very little time since it's primarily text-based. We're not going for a branding opportunity's strictly the info required by the ABC. Moving forward, plan for growler label approval giving the process a 30-day lead time. Since most beer usually takes at least a couple weeks to make anyways, plan on submitting the label a couple weeks before the beer is brewed.

    4. Call Diana Villanueva at the ABC and give her a heads-up. Ask if label approval can be done via email. Then send the labels over for approval. Her contact info:
    Diana Villanueva,, (916) 419-2571

    5. Wait for approval. Continue filling growlers at your own risk.

    Seems pretty straightforward to me - I don't get this whole "breweries need time to figure stuff out" routine.
  8. tjensen3618

    tjensen3618 Initiate (0) Mar 23, 2008 California

    ^^ I like it.

    I would drop the "1) obscure the label of another brewery's growler" covering up other labels is, for good reason IMO, causing the brewers trepidation.
    filling of blank growlers should be the goal. if breweries want to cover up labels that would be a bonus, but most of us i would imagine will just be using blanks from here on out.
    PlinyTheYoungest likes this.
  9. 3rdto1st

    3rdto1st Aspirant (215) Dec 1, 2011 California

    Not a bonus, it's part of the law. They have to obfuscate any brewery details that are not their own approved ones.
  10. PlinyTheYoungest

    PlinyTheYoungest Aspirant (210) Jun 30, 2009 California

    He is saying that we would be fine with breweries just saying no to filling other labeled growlers and just creating a policy built around filling blank growlers. But, if they chose to offer the filling of other breweries growlers and going through the trouble of covering up old labels as the law requires, that would be a bonus.
    tjensen3618 likes this.
  11. errantnight

    errantnight Savant (982) Jul 7, 2005 Iowa
    Beer Trader

    Well I'm far less willing to go you the benefit of the doubt, then. You, AT BEST have exceedingly incomplete information, but are willing to draw hard and firm conclusions not only about how the meeting came to be (which, by the way, included brewers/breweries) that is leading to the clarification, are following that up by making sweeping generalizations about the character and motivations of all brewers, and then are drawing certain, ultra-specific conclusions about how they will react to the actions of the ABC.

    There is literally no chance you are actually correct in all of your assumptions, and my guess is you're wrong about most of them. There are very few people in this world who respond well to bullies or to pencil-pushing enforcers of red tape that has no particularly strong logical basis. It's unfortunate that you are so confident about this strange fantasy you have concocted, because someone as urgently committed to such a positive end goal could actually be applying themselves to helping resolve this mess, instead of making it worse.

    Speaking of assumptions, I would assume that, as a true believer, no matter what happens after this you will continue to shape the narrative to fit what you have already decided is the truth.

    No cheers, yours is too small-minded, self-righteous, and self-deluding of a cause.

    But here's hoping you get your head screwed back on straight someday.
    DrtyBvrJuce likes this.
  12. rrryanc

    rrryanc Disciple (311) May 19, 2006 California
    Beer Trader

    Why MikeTen might be overly antagonistic here, why are you taking the route of Brewery Apologist? Breweries have for years been the "pencil-pusher enforcers of red tape that has no particularly strong logical basis" (or even legal one, it turns out). Why give them the benefit of the doubt here that they're going to do the consumer-friendly thing?
  13. jasonmason

    jasonmason Initiate (174) Oct 6, 2004 California

    The way we have had it for years has been an inconvenience, but really not that big of a deal in the grand scheme of things.

    By taking Mike's approach, it is essentially raising multiple red flags to the ABC. What comes of that, we do not know; putting scrutiny on the process could - and i emphasize could - have implications far from the intention.

    My point is that this is an issue that should have been allowed to be resolved between the breweries themselves and representatives of the ABC. It might not have happened as quickly as some would have liked, or with necessarily the outcome they wanted, but it would have gotten handled. Turning it into a consumer-rights issue could create a much larger mess.
    DrtyBvrJuce likes this.
  14. errantnight

    errantnight Savant (982) Jul 7, 2005 Iowa
    Beer Trader

    If I gave them impression that I was assuming they'd do the consumer-friendly thing, I apologize (please see my responses in the Eagle Rock Brewing blog post if you'd like to see my brewery-criticism side, I'm happy to repost those comments here, too). I know plenty of breweries struggle (to put it kindly) with customer service, marketing their business in a consumer-friendly way, etc., despite their best intentions to serve great beer to people who appreciate it.

    It is entirely possible that breweries will drag their heels long after this issue is completely and totally settled, refuse to do anything, etc.

    All I'm suggesting is that it's inappropriate to paint ALL breweries with such broad strokes, to be so specific in one's assumptions, and in general to believe that antagonizing already consumer-unfriendly businesses by siccing the ABC on them is unlikely to make those businesses see their consumers in a better light, which is ultimately what MikeTen wishes to accomplish.

    In general, it's just too soon to be swinging to extremes, in my opinion. I think there are much more constructive ways to go about effecting positive change. I just find it very unlikely that obstinate brewers will respond well to threats and fines. MikeTen seems to think that this will humble or punish them enough to change their behavior, and that is incredibly counter to how human beings, particularly obstinate ones, tend to act.
  15. DrtyBvrJuce

    DrtyBvrJuce Initiate (0) Jan 17, 2013 California

    The best idea is to throw as many breweries under the bus so we can and fuck with their business and lively hoods without knowing if they're already doing anything. Because you know, fuck brewers.
  16. evilc

    evilc Initiate (0) Jan 27, 2012 California

    The customer is always right. A lot of brewers and their employees think they are some sort of rock stars/royalty. You make beer. Serve the customer what they want if you want their money.

    That said, I wouldn't contact the ABC or anywhere else. I just won't buy any more growlers.
    Beerandraiderfan likes this.
  17. errantnight

    errantnight Savant (982) Jul 7, 2005 Iowa
    Beer Trader

    I wouldn't go that far. The customer is always right mantra can certainly be taken too far. See: most chain restaurants and big chain stores.

    But breweries would be smart to see the opportunity in customers who already have their foot in the door. It is more difficult, and will only become more so, to get customers to buy their specific product as the number of choices expands exponentially and quality improves across the board. So taking the time and effort to convert a customer to a fucking LOYAL CUSTOMER is a potentially huge win, even if at present it seems like a pain-in-the-ass.

    I think it's different to suggest that brewers should adopt a more consumer-friendly attitude than to suggest that brewers should kowtow to the almighty customer. It's the inability of both sides to sometimes see a middle ground that causes friction, but it's the brewery's responsibility to do the heavy-lifting of educating and outreach.

    But I think brewery's anti-consumer behavior is also severely oversold in these forums. Take Alpine. Even with the famously curmudgeonly Pat at their helm, my repeated experiences at the pub and brewery have been fantastic, full of excellent, friendly service and astonishingly great beer. The fact that there are a few well documented cases of bad behavior (even an astonishingly rude and unprofessional e-mail they sent to me, personally, over a negative review of their troublingly diacetyl-laden bottled product) doesn't mean they are not interested in their customers or don't in fact take care of most of them in fine fashion.

    The brewers aren't the enemy. And just like BA's (in particular) can be whiny, entitled, impossible to please, and incredibly fickle, brewers aren't necessarily perfect, either.

    Any sort of positive outreach from the beer geek crowd that encourages good behavior is almost certain to go over better than threats and calling in outside authority. It will only draw more scorn for the community here. And frankly, most of that scorn is well earned, even if it doesn't apply to a majority of the participants to the site.
  18. jtmartino

    jtmartino Initiate (0) Dec 11, 2010 California
    Beer Trader

    If it's causing brewers or brewery owners trepidation, then they clearly don't know how to read. The clarification makes a point to say that breweries can indeed cover up other labels when reusing growlers.

    Obviously it's up to brewery owners to do as they wish, but this is a simple problem with a simple solution.

    And I don't think the simple "filling of blank growlers" should be the goal. At least I hope it's not. I would much prefer to have California aim for the model that has been incredibly successful in Oregon, which allows anyone with an appropriate license to fill any growler with any draft beer and charge what they want to fill it. California's screwed up laws are not going to allow that utopia to exist, so at the very least consumers should be able to use any approved type of growler at any brewery.
    Beerandraiderfan and flexabull like this.
  19. grilledsquid

    grilledsquid Zealot (501) Jul 10, 2009 California
    Beer Trader

    While I would prefer and welcome a model similar to Oregon's, I'd be content with a generic/blank growler solution.
  20. PlinyTheYoungest

    PlinyTheYoungest Aspirant (210) Jun 30, 2009 California

    Or, as I mentioned earlier in the thread, they can let the consumer worry about covering their previously labeled growlers if they wish to fill them. Brewers are already showing hesitation pertaining to the covering of labels and all that it entails, so why not stick to blank growlers or ones that you have already covered? Holding out for more idealistic solutions to this problem will not encourage the breweries to act, and if you can't cover your own growler you can't complain about them not filling it.
    jtmartino likes this.
  21. tjensen3618

    tjensen3618 Initiate (0) Mar 23, 2008 California

    I agree that should be the end goal. But in no way, shape, or form does the current law allow for it.

    Covering up a label is something that I personally would not want to deal with if I owned a brewery. But, filling blanks.. easy peasy, and I personally feel that should be the starting point.
  22. MikeTen

    MikeTen Initiate (0) Apr 3, 2009 California

    Yadda yadda yawn... Anyway, these guys have been "enforcing" a law (incorrectly, as it turns out) for years. That you agree they won't act in our best interests if left to their own devices, but have offered no viable alternative for coercing them, tells me this: you don't like what I am doing, but you have no better solution.

    Too soon? What time frame are you thinking of? I notice others used the phrase "short-sighted." Are you thinking back one month or two months? I'm thinking back years. No one asked for clarification or developed a solution because they didn't have to. Without a push, they won't do anything different. Breweries sell growlers just fine right now; so what incentive do they have, financially or otherwise, to do something different? Why listen to a polite e-mail?

    Short-sighted thinking is what led to 50-odd growlers in my home. Now I'm thinking long term. A push now can result in big dividends 10 years from now. If that means a month or two without growlers while breweries "figure things out," whatever that means, then I'll live with that. It's the guys who fret about not having a growler for the weekend that are thinking short term. Not me.
  23. rrryanc

    rrryanc Disciple (311) May 19, 2006 California
    Beer Trader

    Why would you report the breweries that are being consumer friendly though? Like I said, I think MikeTen is being overly antagonistic, and I'd definitely prefer the "let the brewery know the details, then go to the authorities when they ignore them."

    I get that a lot of you on here are friends with the brewery owners, and have implicit or imagined relationships of various sorts with them. But many of us don't. Breweries have spent years telling us that they can only fill their own growlers because of the law (clear bias: pro-brewery), and now aren't coming out quickly with statements like "We're so excited about this clarification of the law and are going to work on filling other growlers ASAP - give us a month or two to work out the kinks though," but in fact the exact opposite. So you're going to have to forgive me when I think they don't deserve a helluv a lot of leniency from us, the consumers, on that front.

    At some point, why do I care? Sure, some of the obstinate brewers make the best beer. But when they get annoying enough to make it not worth it to get their beer, I'll backfill from brewers that do. And if they don't change, don't they risk losing their license?

    At the very least, I want brewers to come out and tell me that "I want the growler glass/SS sales, which is why I'm not going to fill other growlers," shortsighted as I think that may be. I want them to stop hiding behind the law, which they've spent years breaking anyway.
    jtmartino and flexabull like this.
  24. errantnight

    errantnight Savant (982) Jul 7, 2005 Iowa
    Beer Trader

    I agree with all that you're saying, frankly.

    And in fact, that's what I was arguing with Jeremy from Eagle Rock in his blog post. Quit with the excuses and lecturing and make with the: "this is exciting and we're going to figure out how to make it work, just give us some time!"

    I would generally say that your attitude is precisely why I'm arguing that someone who seems committed to taking action, like MikeTen, adopt a different approach and have a more open mind. I'm not suggesting all consumers should/need to, they shouldn't.

    What I'm suggesting is that MikeTen's approach both won't work and he's reached the conclusion that it will through a series of exceedingly specific and unlikely assumptions.

    But I wouldn't suggest that anybody not get frustrated with brewers for failing to jump, excitedly, onto this development. Let them know that the status quo will not stand.

    And for the record, I don't have any real or imagined relationships with brewers that I'm aware of, at least not directly.
    Skuter likes this.
  25. flexabull

    flexabull Poo-Bah (2,311) Mar 9, 2006 California
    Beer Trader

    Maybe some of the well known breweries in big areas like the Bay or SD will start filling blanks /other growlers. Then eventually the breweries that refuse to will get wind of the fact that they are missing out on sales of beer by not following suit. I know which breweries I would frequent more often.

    One can dream...
    jtmartino likes this.
  26. errantnight

    errantnight Savant (982) Jul 7, 2005 Iowa
    Beer Trader

    Actually, they haven't been enforcing anything. They do not have any authority or power to enforce. They have been following.

    And it turns out they have been correct. None of them, as it turns out, could actually sell a growler with a slapped on label at this point in time. They'll have to get new label approval.

    Your assumption regarding my not having a solution is faulty. I do have a better solution. Contact the brewers you'd like to see adopt this practice and tell them how you feel about it: that you'd spend more money there, that you're excited about this change, and that you can't wait to hear what their solution for adopting this is. If they seem reluctant, ask them why. Contact them publicly through social media channels. Enlist other passionate people on here, friends of yours or otherwise, and make new ones who agree with your comments.

    I'm thinking of the past one or two months, but let's talk years for a moment: you don't know that no one ever asked for a clarification or developed a solution. You just know that no solution was ever implemented. While all brewers may be culpable for living with the status quo, that doesn't mean they have no interest in working on a solution now that they realize the status quo is not what they thought it was. And it doesn't mean that even if they're reluctant to enact change that threats is the most efficient way to encourage them to adopt changes. Which brings us back to the last one or two months. It seems that it's still not entirely clear what all needs to happen in order to start filling other breweries' growlers, or at least not all of the hoops have been jumped through by someone to figure it all out. As you suggest, the motivation is not that strong at present. They don't know what revenue they're losing (or missing out on) by not adopting this practice. There are more than just the red tape hurdles, there are the logistics within the brewpub, additional training, etc. It's going to require work on their part, even if they're interested.

    Why listen to a polite e-mail? Because people actually respond better to polite e-mails than they do threats. The more antagonistic and entitled you come across, the less inclined the very people who's behavior you'd like to change will be to adopt the change that you'd like.

    I agree that the time to get brewers on board is now. And frankly, it won't take that many breweries adopting the practice and saying: this is great for our business, to get other breweries on board.

    The question is, what do you actually want to happen? Do you want positive change, or do you want to enact punitive punishment on all these breweries? Because it seems like the latter, which is a waste of everyone's time.

    You seem to have it in your head that if you call the ABC on a brewery because they're not currently properly meeting label requirements for growler fills, an entirely tangential and unrelated issue to whether they can/will create new labels to fill growler from other breweries, that they will somehow take that "lesson" as an opportunity to get in shape and adopt an entirely new practice which is expensive (again, logistics, training, design, label approval) and bothersome AFTER they've driven away customers and lost revenue (in the even they actually do get shut down for growler fills for a time). That's just an insane line of thinking. I'm not sure what person you have in mind that would respond in such a manner, but I've certainly never met him or her. You'd be hard pressed to have devised a less effective solution.

    But your conclusion reveals your selfish, egotistical motives. You'll live with it if breweries and customers are all negatively effected by your self-aggrandizing bully tactics. Well thank goodness, I was concerned you'd be really broken up over it. However, you may wish to consider how your actions will be perceived by the people that you'd like to have listening to you (i.e.: the brewers, whose actions you'd like to influence, and fellow consumers who want that same change).
    jasonmason likes this.
  27. errantnight

    errantnight Savant (982) Jul 7, 2005 Iowa
    Beer Trader

    I said this in a longer rant, but I'll rephrase here:

    It won't take long for breweries to adopt a filling blank/other brewery's growlers policy once a few breweries adopt such a policy and experience positive revenue because of it.
    mrkrispy and flexabull like this.
  28. MikeTen

    MikeTen Initiate (0) Apr 3, 2009 California

    I don't recall saying it WILL work. I said things like "might, could, etc."

    Fact, breweries left to there own devices have done nothing in 10 years or more. I'm getting them to revisit the problem.

    If you don't push them, they DEFINITELY WON'T change. If you push them, they MIGHT change. Seems easy enough.

    Exactly. Push a hard reset on all breweries' growler fill abilities, and the first few to "figure things out" will have a huge windfall.

    There is currently no incentive for breweries to change. None. Everyone seems to have missed that. I am proposing that we provide one.
  29. MikeTen

    MikeTen Initiate (0) Apr 3, 2009 California

    What are you, Gandhi?
  30. flexabull

    flexabull Poo-Bah (2,311) Mar 9, 2006 California
    Beer Trader

    I would think so. I am pretty sure that's the main goal of a brewery, sell more beer not growlers.

    I am a bit of an exception to the rule, but living in far Northern California, very few branded growlers make sense to me. I'd love to take a couple of growlers with me when I visit the in-laws in San Diego, because as of now, it makes little sense for me to purchase an Alesmith, Port, etc... growler that I can fill once every 2 or 3 years.
  31. errantnight

    errantnight Savant (982) Jul 7, 2005 Iowa
    Beer Trader

    Your ego it's astonishing.

    You are not getting them to revisit the problem. The problem is already being revisited. It was a topic of conversation with its own positive momentum before you showed up. You're some guy ranting on a website. You're nobody. This isn't about you. You would like to make it about you by sending off complaints to the ABC about an unrelated topic in the hopes that by pissing everyone off you get what you want.

    I would have agreed that they definitely won't change without pushing, but I don't anymore. It'll take a lot longer without encouragement, but some brewery somewhere (say, Golden Road up in LA who already seems enthusiastic to adopt the practice) will start accepting other brewery's growlers and, in a very tiny and tight-knit community, start talking about what a great thing it is. And slowly, other breweries will decide the revenue is worth the hassle.

    You can't push a hard reset on all breweries' growler fill abilities. Not all breweries fail to abide by the law. And further, abiding by the law might simply be remembering to add the ABV of the beer in sharpie when they apply a tag to the growler. None of them will need to reapply for a new label in order to start filling beers in growlers again, were they shut down due to a result of your instigation. None of them. They all already have label approval.

    There is strong incentive to change: monetary and the voice of the people. Being shut down from growler sales for a month and being forced to actually start filling in all of the appropriate information on the accompanying tags is not any sort of motivation for change with regards to filling other breweries' growlers.

    You are not proposing any sort of incentive for change, at all. You have convinced yourself that you have, but you have not. The force of change has been unleashed and is already underway. What you're proposing is all about you, and all about pissing people off. Which is not a good way to effect change.
    jasonmason likes this.
  32. errantnight

    errantnight Savant (982) Jul 7, 2005 Iowa
    Beer Trader

    I think it's fair to say there's a fucking GIGANTIC GAPING CHASM between me and Gandhi.
    MikeTen likes this.
  33. tjensen3618

    tjensen3618 Initiate (0) Mar 23, 2008 California

    1) The BA community did on the old forums several times, it was asked why Provisions couldn't fill growlers, the conversation then turned to the actual law and somebody posted the actual legal verbiage. It was concluded by myself and a few others that a removable sticker would suffice for breweries to fill growlers. I even created a mock up sticker for The Bruery, Patrick's response was "It's not that easy", apparently, as evidenced by the Stone sattelite stores, it actually was that easy. Fast forward to today, 3 years later, my mock up sticker/hangtag with a couple modifications could work for any brewery looking to fill blank growlers.

    2) The owner of Ladyface, a member of the LA brewers guild who just discussed the growler law as a group and how to move forward with it, provided me with this clever solution through email.

    Me: "Thanks for the update, I actually was at Ladyface last week for a glass of Pliny the Younger and some lunch, it was excellent!

    A solution to the growler fill problem seems simple to me...

    Institute a policy that says. "To ensure the best Ladyface Ales possible we will ONLY fill Ladyface branded growlers, -or- blank 2 liter growlers"

    Get a hang tag approved that you can attach to the blank growlers and you should be good to go.

    Forget about trying to cover up old brewers information on other growlers, too much headache and hassle. If people are willing, as I am, to do the blank growlers, they can be picked up for a couple of dollars at any homebrew shop and could be reused at many different breweries reducing waste and environmental impact."

    Her: "I can't fill a 2 liter growler. I also still have to comply with TTB labeling. Easiest solution, buy a LF growler and keep it at a friends house locally to use when you're in town. ;-)"

    3) It is entirely clear, and has been for some time if you cared about it.
    MikeTen and jtmartino like this.
  34. errantnight

    errantnight Savant (982) Jul 7, 2005 Iowa
    Beer Trader

    1) Is the reason that you couldn't fill growlers at Provisions strictly a labeling issue? Because unless it was, and nothing you wrote states that it was, then your proposed solution is, obviously, irrelevant. If it was strictly a labeling issue, would you be kind enough to point me to where that was stated?

    2) She is correct. You can't just fill blank growlers and slap a label on. It sounds like there is some confusion about whether a blank growler could be filled, at all, with or without tag. But either way, they would need to submit a NEW label for approval to fill. Now, it's entirely possible Ladyface is just completely uninterested in providing an alternate solution to their consumers. I'd let them know that leaving growlers at friends houses or carting them from abroad is not any sort of solution, because it isn't. However, I'm willing to bet that threatening to report them to the ABC for whatever perceived existing violation they have is unlikely to turn the conversation in your favor.

    3) It obviously wasn't entirely clear, because at least one brewery, eager to start filling anyone's growler (Golden Road) has yet to do so. And once you solve the labeling issue, you still need to figure out the logistics. Again, this isn't rocket science, it's eminently solvable, and it's incredibly frustrating to hear the reluctant, cover-our-ass, lazy bullshit from brewers who are weighing the value of their unique growlers as marketing tool and the hassle of change against providing a better experience to their customers.
  35. jtmartino

    jtmartino Initiate (0) Dec 11, 2010 California
    Beer Trader

    I don't buy this. I mean, everything else in your post was great, but this little nugget is what irks me. How, exactly, is it a headache or hassle? Why wouldn't paper work? What if the customer did it themselves? The ABC said it was OK, and why not get a quick clarification from Diana about exactly how a label can be covered?

    A huge part of this debate is so that people can re-use the growlers they already own, NOT go out and purchase new blank ones. People don't need more damn growlers!

    I suppose people could scrub off the logos of the growlers they own, but I think many people probably don't wanna do that. Branded growlers are kinda cool to have (like glassware.)
    Beerandraiderfan and errantnight like this.
  36. tjensen3618

    tjensen3618 Initiate (0) Mar 23, 2008 California

    Paper would absolutely work, and if the customer did it themselves even better.

    I'm offering the simplest acceptable solution to a problem that many breweries seem reluctant to fix. Give them the simplest path and they might just start to go down it. Could you imagine what her response would have been if I had suggested she cover up my 2 liter Stone growler with paper which has a label that wraps 360 degrees around the damn thing?
  37. jtmartino

    jtmartino Initiate (0) Dec 11, 2010 California
    Beer Trader

    If this were any other industry, I'd laugh at how insignificant of a request that would be. But since we're talking craft beer, and we have supremely low expectations for brewery owners and employees, I can see how wrapping a growler in a piece of paper would be too much to ask.

    I mean shit, I'm so stoked when the TJ Maxx employee wraps my housewares in tissue paper at checkout - I couldn't possibly expect a similar level of service from a craft brewery.
  38. tjensen3618

    tjensen3618 Initiate (0) Mar 23, 2008 California

    1) I did not state that; Rather, my point was more along the lines of the fact that we have discussed in great detail on this site that it is perfectly legal to attach a sticker or hangtag to a growler and to point out that brewery owners have been present in those discussions, which ultimately led to... nothing.

    2) I'm not reporting anybody, just not buying growlers from anybody for the time being. And if you care here is my final response to her, which I received no response to.
    "If I did that for all the CA breweries I've visited and wanted to get growler fills from, I'd have 40+ growlers, that kind of defeats the benefit of a environmentally friendly refillable beer container. Your suggestion is not such an easy solution for us craft beer geeks."

    3) Agreed
  39. errantnight

    errantnight Savant (982) Jul 7, 2005 Iowa
    Beer Trader

    1) But it's sort of irrelevant. Although it's worth noting that when The Bruery opened, before they had growlers... they filled growlers with paper labels. The cat is now very far out of the bag, it wasn't before. It presents a new dynamic. I'm not suggesting brewers will take it, and everyone needs to decide what's right for them: express their frustration/disappointment/anger, try to convince their favorite brewers to get on board, some combination of the two, neither, or calling the ABC and telling them to issue more citations and enter into a more contentious relationship with breweries.

    2) Thanks for sharing. And yeah, it's unfortunate that brewers aren't embracing the change. Hopefully they get their act together, eventually.

    3) Cheers.
  40. mjl21

    mjl21 Initiate (0) Apr 3, 2008 California

    For the longest time here in the North Bay, Marin, Moylans, and Ross Valley Brewing (precursor to Iron Springs), all would fill growlers/water jugs that were not branded with their name. Russian River was the first North Bay brewery that would not fill a competitor's growler.
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