Growler Prices: What is a good value?

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by joeyjoey104, Dec 26, 2014.

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  1. joeyjoey104

    joeyjoey104 Initiate (0) Aug 2, 2014 California

    Been wondering what is a good deal for buying a growler & getting it refilled?

    Saw at two local Los Angeles breweries: $20 dollars for initial growler & fill, with refills being $17 dollars. I'm thinking about it, and that seems quite high. A 6-pack is 72 ounces of beer, usually priced anywhere from $10-$15 bucks, whereas a growler is 64 ounces & more expensive.

    Only way to justify the growler price is that you can fill a growler with beer you cannot get in 6 pack form. Am I looking at this price to ounce comparison correctly? I'm in Los Angeles County, anybody have any prices for growlers from other craft breweries that may be a really good value.
  2. ZAP

    ZAP Poo-Bah (4,454) Dec 1, 2001 Minnesota

    In Minnesota $12 fills (excluding high ABV, limited releases, etc beers)seem to be about the average. Some places are lower...some higher...The growlers are still higher than six packs or regular craft beer here which go from $7-$10- usually.
    gatornation likes this.
  3. ManBearPat

    ManBearPat Devotee (499) Dec 2, 2014 Colorado

    Here in Fort Collins, there seems to be a wide range of prices for growler fills. Many assume that it is much cheaper to get growlers filled, but that is only sometimes true. For instance, a growler of anything from ODells or NB at the brewery is typically more expensive than buying a 6er. On the other hand, places like Pateros Creek and Black Bottle have half price growler days and you can get out of there with a fill for ~$5.
  4. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (4,884) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    “Only way to justify the growler price is that you can fill a growler with beer you cannot get in 6 pack form.” That is indeed the case.

    “Am I looking at this price to ounce comparison correctly?” Yup! The math is pretty simple:

    · Growler: $17/64 ounces = $0.26 per ounce

    · 6-pack: $12.50/72 ounces = $0.17 per ounce

    Growlers in your area cost waaaay more vs. 6-packs.

    The other consideration is that unless your local breweries have fancy growler filling stations like they have at Victory, Sly Fox, Troegs, … then the growler fill is damaging to the beer; CO2 is knocked out and oxygen is introduced. When you factor this into the ‘equation’ then growler fills are even more of a ‘bad’ deal.

    #4 JackHorzempa, Dec 26, 2014
    Last edited: Dec 26, 2014
  5. LampertLand

    LampertLand Poo-Bah (2,681) Nov 2, 2011 Canada (BC)

  6. PorterPro125

    PorterPro125 Champion (850) Jan 19, 2013 Canada (NB)

    In Fredericton, New Brunswick, a growler costs around $10 and a fill costs about the same.
  7. BBThunderbolt

    BBThunderbolt Poo-Bah (8,040) Sep 24, 2007 Kiribati
    Society Trader

    Most beers are about $10, plus-minus a couple bucks, around here. We have a lot of small breweries who don't package, or only package certain things, and growlers are the only way to get the beer for takeaway.
    sharpski and Strangestbrewer like this.
  8. joeyjoey104

    joeyjoey104 Initiate (0) Aug 2, 2014 California

    dang nice summary! Thanks. I think unless I can fill a very rare beer, I won't be getting a growler anytime soon.
    bozodogbreath likes this.
  9. JonB25

    JonB25 Devotee (410) Jun 2, 2013 Delaware

    It really depends upon availability. At Troegs, there are some only available there.
  10. Rback

    Rback Initiate (0) Feb 26, 2012 New York

    I thought we agreed a long time ago that a beer on tap was better than the same beer in a bottle. I buy growlers frequently for that reason.
    hudsonvalleyslim likes this.
  11. TurkeyFeathers

    TurkeyFeathers Initiate (0) Jun 22, 2014 New York

    Couldn't get my wife to get me my growler filled with Biscotti Break for $38.
    loweball727 likes this.
  12. SLOCruzin

    SLOCruzin Initiate (155) Sep 30, 2013 California

    In the Bay Area, 32 oz and 64oz growler fills average $10 and $15, respectively. But there are some exceptions. Cellarmaker recently released Blammo, their Oak aged 15% imperial stout with coconuts, for $25/32oz fill.
  13. joeyjoey104

    joeyjoey104 Initiate (0) Aug 2, 2014 California

    I don't think that is generally true all the time. I have had a beer on tap, and liked it better in the bottle. Probably more of carbonation thing.
  14. KnowYourCraft

    KnowYourCraft Initiate (0) Jun 6, 2014 California

    From the few Breweries I've been to Growlers plus fill are usually around $20-$25, then fills only are anywhere from $10-$15, $15 being special or limited releases
    $17 for a refill is high unless it's a BA beer
  15. Otis32

    Otis32 Initiate (0) Jan 1, 2011 Minnesota

    Once the novelty factor wore off I kind of developed some guidelines when it comes to purchasing a growler. A beer that really shines when fresh or is a worthy tap only offering. The beer can be enjoyed within a day of buying it.
  16. CraftFan5

    CraftFan5 Meyvn (1,017) May 14, 2013 New Jersey

    In NYC there are a few places that fill 64/32 oz. always for $9.99/$5.99. They don't get anything rare, but that's a damn good price for Arrogant Bastard, Sculpin, Sucks, Flower Power, etc.
    tweezer159 likes this.
  17. Beer4B

    Beer4B Initiate (0) Feb 28, 2014 Florida

    There have been 2 instances when I was HAPPY with filling a growler (no remorse):

    1. Pseudo Sue 64oz $10.99 (WI)
    2. Rum BA Wake N Bake 32 oz $10.99 (FL)

    That's it. I'm with most of you in that I don't bother with growlers (especially in FL) unless it's something I won't see in cans/bottles.
    smanson56 and John21 like this.
  18. VDubDJ

    VDubDJ Initiate (0) Aug 11, 2011 Arizona

    I've paid $25 for a fill alone before. But generally that would only be for something limited or really high ABV.
  19. beernazi

    beernazi Initiate (0) Dec 5, 2012 California

    which brewery, may i ask? the only place i go for growler fills in la county is stone, because its $15 max for a fill no matter what it is, barrel aged, whatever
    craft_is_king likes this.
  20. LordofWord

    LordofWord Initiate (109) Dec 15, 2014 Oregon

    I paid $14 for a 32-ounce fill of Ten Fidy a week or two ago. Probably won't do it again. I'd rather just buy four-packs of a cheaper alternative like Old Raspy for $8.99.
    ManBearPat likes this.
  21. DoubleJ

    DoubleJ Poo-Bah (5,814) Oct 13, 2007 Wisconsin

    My idea of a good growler value involves a growler fill being better value for money than the same beer in a bottled format. That said, growler fills at The Bruery and Bootlegger's are the way to go.
    Ilpalazzo, deford and craft_is_king like this.
  22. mikepcarney

    mikepcarney Initiate (0) Oct 28, 2009 Ohio

    Growler fills are usually under packaged beer in my area.
  23. Bunman3

    Bunman3 Initiate (0) Aug 7, 2014 Canada (AB)

    In Alberta, growler fills range from $5 (Drummond swill from our local brewery) - not worth the gastrointestinal fallout - to $20 for a rare, limited edition brew. The going rate at Alberta craft brewers and brew pubs is $10 - $14. When you consider how much more we pay for bottles and cans in Canada than our neighbors to south, the comparative value is quite good.
  24. BoomKentucky

    BoomKentucky Initiate (0) Mar 22, 2013 Kentucky

    I feel like a couple of places I go here in Louisville, KY to usually have a growler cheaper than a 6 pack, but seems like prices have gone up over the last year. Supply and demand I guess.
  25. lambpasty

    lambpasty Initiate (0) May 3, 2013 New Hampshire

    From my experience around Boston MA and various locations all around New Hampshire and Vermont, unless it's a specialty/limited run beer a growler usually costs $10-$14 and is maybe ~20% less to refill.

    For example, every year I pick up a growler of Autumn Brew from Woodstock Inn in NH, and it was $11 the first time and $8 for subsequent refills.
  26. Canada_Dan

    Canada_Dan Initiate (0) Jun 14, 2013 Colorado

    Damn, that place looks really cool. Might have to visit BC soon!

    Growlers around Chicago are usually $12-$18 I would say. Always would prefer to buy a bomber if available as I don't have to drink it right away. That being said, nothing says "the party is here" like showing up at a friends place with a fresh growler ready to be consumed!
  27. Asics

    Asics Initiate (0) Jul 28, 2012 Washington

    Here in Seattle growler fills range from $7-$15+ depending on where you go and what you get. Most fills are $10. I feel the best value you can get is being able to get something that isn't bottled (Georgetown Brewing).

    The best value I've ever gotten was $15 for a grower fill of Fremont Kentucky Dark Star. A bottle of KDS is around $18 so the growler fill was a steal.
    sharpski likes this.
  28. gatornation

    gatornation Poo-Bah (6,928) Apr 18, 2007 Minnesota
    Society Trader

    For me the value of the growler is the availability of getting a brew that is not bottled or from a brewpub 2nd is its is for the most part very fresh I can get many growler fillsof for $10-$12 of local/national brands and same price for brewpubs
    hudsonvalleyslim likes this.
  29. donspublic

    donspublic Poo-Bah (1,993) Aug 4, 2014 Texas
    Society Trader

    Growler fills at my local whole foods are dependent of what is on tap. I only get in the growler what I cannot get in a sixpack. The other instance is if the price of 3 bombers is less than the growler fill. I posted in another thread that in the Houston area Yellow Rose growler fills are the best deal. A 25oz wine bottle goes for $9 - 10 and the 64oz growler fills are $12.
  30. dennis3951

    dennis3951 Initiate (0) Mar 6, 2008 New Jersey

    I only fill growlers at the local brewpub and they are well worth the price.
  31. LordofWord

    LordofWord Initiate (109) Dec 15, 2014 Oregon

    My local Whole Foods doesn't post growler prices for customers to see. I find this annoying. Perhaps I expect too much.
  32. RBassSFHOPit2ME

    RBassSFHOPit2ME Initiate (0) Mar 1, 2009 California

    i like my hot dogs with Mustard.
    tweezer159 likes this.
  33. donspublic

    donspublic Poo-Bah (1,993) Aug 4, 2014 Texas
    Society Trader

    No I would be somewhat annoyed too. The one by my house post the pint(tulip)/32oz/64oz price on a big board that list all beers. They also do a somewhat decent job of keeping taphunter updated with what they have and what the growler cost is
  34. joeyjoey104

    joeyjoey104 Initiate (0) Aug 2, 2014 California

    Beachwood in LBC. 17 buck refills on below 9.5% abv, and like 22 bucks for refills on above 9.5% abv. I was at Noble Ale Works recently too, and was around that same price, but not as good of offerings to refill with. Basically just their regulars, no Mosaic Showers or Naughty Sauce. I guess I get Beachwood's price point, they make some great beers & was close to buying one because it is so tough to get them in bottles.
    beernazi likes this.
  35. KeithE

    KeithE Initiate (0) Sep 10, 2013 Illinois

    I used to go to Half Acre Brewing for growlers and it always cost me more than by buying cans so I stopped doing that. Plus if you are not bringing it to a party the 64 ounces will go stale in a few days once you open it. I just checked their web site and it looks like their growler prices came down by a few dollars so it's probably a better deal than the same beer in cans. The funny thing I asked a guy at the store one time if the growlers were fresher and he said it's all the same thing. Probably the best part of buying beers in growlers in getting something from a small batch thats not canned or bottled and also if the brewery is accommodating then the free tastings before you buy.
  36. beernazi

    beernazi Initiate (0) Dec 5, 2012 California

    would definitely buy a growler at beachwood, forgot about them cause they are a bit of a hike from where im at, but 17 and 22 is a solid price point depending on what it is of course
    Ilpalazzo likes this.
  37. hikanteki

    hikanteki Initiate (90) Oct 11, 2013 California

    Actually Blammo fills were $24/1L (33.8 oz) fill, but close enough. That was a good beer and I’m glad I got to try it, but it was a pretty hefty price (~$16/bomber.) Although next time they put it on for fills, it will probably be $25 because most of their other growler prices recently went up $1. I find that with Cellarmaker, the higher the ABV, the higher not only the total price but the price-per-ABV.

    I find growler fill prices in the Bay (and probably elsewhere) have been creeping up and IMO it’s near the point where I question if it’s worth it. For styles that are readily available in 6 packs these days (i.e. pretty much anything), a growler should be similarly priced or cheaper in order to be worth it. It has the main drawback (having to commit to a LOT of the same kind of beer) without the main advantage (being able to enjoy a glass or two, at a time, without the rest of the jar losing its luster.) I’ve left a couple growlers in the fridge unopened for up to a month and they were fine; however with the twist-top ones the carbonation completely dies overnight. With the swing top ones it lasts a few days.

    I find I still pad growler purchase calculations with a couple of extra bucks because I like supporting local breweries, but I can only rationalize so much before the deal wears off...especially since the brewery doesn’t have to worry about bottle production or distribution costs. When you can readily find Sierra Nevada Torpedo or Celebration 6 Packs for $7-8.99, a $18 growler fill of an admittedly awesome IPA from a local brewer doesn’t sound like such a good deal.

    $15 for 64 oz/2L seems to be the absolute minimum now for fills of good beer, unless they’re ones that are readily available in 6 packs (the cheapest year-round I’ve seen is $10+tax at Drake’s). $15 is about $3.75/pint, or $2.81 per 12 oz bottle.

    Prices I’ve seen recently:
    Cellarmaker: $18-$21/fill, up from $17-$20, for their $6/pint beers (<~8% ABV) and $23-$25 for their $6/12 oz tulip beers (8-9% ABV). Their empty growlers, although twist top, are just $6.
    Sante Adairius: $18/fill. They usually only have 1-2 types available for fills, and they’re almost always IPAs. (Once in a blue moon, it’s a porter or saison.)
    Drake’s: Ranging from $11/fill (including tax) for their year-rounds, $20 for Jolly Rodger 2014, and $27 (WTF) for Hopocalypse. Hopocalypse is great but $27 fill is more expensive than three bombers.
    Faction: $15-$19 for everything, in general the higher the ABV the higher the price.
    Lagunitas: $15-$18 for everything, $15 for the standards and $18 for the specialties that are offered. We got a Rye Barrel-aged Cappuccino Stout fill for $18; IMO that was a legitimately good price. Empty growlers are cool looking (clear glass with the embossed doggie logo and footprints) but damaging unless you get something dark, heavy, and malty...such as the Rye BA CS. :grinning:
    JP Das Brew: $12-$15. Everything is the same price in house, but the Pilsner and IPAs fills are $15. $15 for their 12% Triple Blitz Black IPA ain’t bad. Just be sure to bring your own growler, because they sell theirs for $12, and it’s twist-top...
    Mission Creek (in Whole Foods San Jose): In general it’s $15 incl. tax for most things, although they charged $17.32 ($15.99+tax) for their IPA. The brewmaster is from Russian River; this could be a place to watch out for.
    Santa Cruz Mountain Brewing: $12-$16. Equals $8 off the price of four pints ($2 each). Standards (which are more miss than hit) are $12, seasonals (of which the hits/misses are more evenly distributed) are $16.
    TheeWalrusHunter likes this.
  38. TurkeyFeathers

    TurkeyFeathers Initiate (0) Jun 22, 2014 New York

    I splurged for a growler of GI Bourbon county stout for the Super Bowl. $40
    riverlen, Premo88 and nc41 like this.
  39. wd09601

    wd09601 Initiate (0) Jul 29, 2012 Maryland

    Would you pay $22 for Mo by Maine? Amazing beer and that price is probably cheaper than buying bottles.
  40. hendo_74

    hendo_74 Initiate (0) Feb 16, 2015 Illinois

    Also take into account whether or not the brewery offers a loyalty program which usually means every 10th growler refill is free.
    hikanteki and chuckstout like this.
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