Resurgence of the Growler?

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by surfcaster, Apr 16, 2020.

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  1. surfcaster

    surfcaster Zealot (526) Apr 20, 2013 North Carolina
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    I have seen some places now filling cleaned growlers or their own growlers when they seemed to have almost disappeared not long ago. Some places are running short on cans. Big bottles with a manual capper are showing up.

    I have picked up some growlers of some local favorites and some places with tap rooms filling "to-go" to keep business up. Glad to support it.

    I candidly enjoy the growler--a perfect weekend fill with wife or an appropriately distanced neighbor with a set of gloves and sanitizers.

    Is this playing out locally for you?
     
  2. Premo88

    Premo88 Poo-Bah (2,150) Jun 6, 2010 Texas
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    Yep, the two local breweries in my town are filling growlers.

    The Texas alcohol laws have been waking up from the dead little by little over the past 10 years or so, and the state recently began allowing all breweries to sell beer to go. As soon as they did, most taprooms began doing growlers and/or crowlers.
     
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  3. BBThunderbolt

    BBThunderbolt Poo-Bah (10,026) Sep 24, 2007 Kiribati
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    Mostly, around me, breweries are not filling growlers brought in by customers. No sanitation guarantees.

    They will sell and fill a new one, but, otherwise, the risks aren't worth it.
     
  4. PA-Michigander

    PA-Michigander Poo-Bah (1,807) Nov 10, 2013 Pennsylvania
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    Same as ^ they won't fill outside growlers. Some places are not charging for their new growlers which is nice, but most won't allow you to bring in your own.
     
  5. AZBeerDude72

    AZBeerDude72 Initiate (0) Jun 10, 2016 Arizona

    Growlers are selling well some places sold out of glass fast. A few allow you to bring your own only if sanitized prior and they re-clean. I usually snag Crowlers these days which are easier and cleaner.
     
  6. joerooster

    joerooster Initiate (0) May 15, 2018 Virginia

    Never been a fan of growlers, in my experience, they cost more than buying packaged product, have a shorter shelf life and must be completely consumed once opened. Crowlers are ok but they kind of defeat the re-usable feature of a growler (the only redeeming quality of growlers, imo).

    Good reminder for me to toss my growlers in the recycle bin next week.
     
  7. cavedave

    cavedave Poo-Bah (3,108) Mar 12, 2009 New York
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    I have noticed many of the local breweries, pubs, and beverage stores in my feed are advertising they will fill clean growlers, even ones that had switched to crowler only. Always was a growler fan way back when it was an economical way to get beer. Nowadays it is at least as expensive per oz. as the beer is when packaged in cans or bottles. All mine now are filled as my backup clean water supply.
     
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  8. SILVER

    SILVER Aspirant (205) Jan 3, 2007 Florida

    Too bad you didn't get a Growler Saver when they were available a few years ago. Mine works very good.
     
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  9. ChangSing

    ChangSing Initiate (177) May 5, 2013 Illinois
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    I don't particularly care for growlers. I don't like having to be forced to drink 64 oz of the same beer. But I do prefer tap over cans. But, I got a growlers at a local restaurant and will get some here and there, just to help bars and taprooms continue to turn inventory. That's really the only reason they're back..places are sitting on inventory that they can't sell probably for another month.
     
  10. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (5,826) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
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    In my area the breweries will only sell growlers using new glass. I already have enough empty growlers in my basement, I have zero need for more.

    I have been buying crowlers from Victory Brewing (Downingtown, PA location). 12 crowlers so far.

    Cheers!
     
  11. superspak

    superspak Poo-Bah (25,484) May 5, 2010 North Carolina
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    Last year I started hitting up local breweries that were essentially tap only, since I wanted to up my review counts and such. I prefer crowlers as they store better longer, but have been very happy with the 16 ounce "prowlers" very often within the last year! All places will reuse any glass and any branded label. I always clean mine out after every use.
     
  12. JohnnyHopps

    JohnnyHopps Poo-Bah (2,876) Jun 15, 2010 Indiana
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    I cleaned out my closet last week and threw at least a dozen crowlers/growlers into recycling. I am reluctant to add more.
     
  13. AZBeerDude72

    AZBeerDude72 Initiate (0) Jun 10, 2016 Arizona

    This is the one thing that kills me, growlers have become the same price per oz. as the can. Used to be able to save a little now its all the same least most are. I usually only do a growler/crowler now when I cannot get the beer in a can. I figure what is the point if the price is the same and cans hold longer and are easier to take around if going camping/fishing, etc.
     
  14. PapaGoose03

    PapaGoose03 Poo-Bah (3,728) May 30, 2005 Michigan
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    It's never beer clear to me whether breweries here in MI are permitted to fill growlers and howlers from outside sources, but one of my local breweries is now doing so. They rinse in a sanitizer solution before filling. They had run out of their logo growlers at one point but are now restocked. They still fill outside glass, and I have been buying a growler and howler refill weekly at the same time that I pick up lunch that was ordered online. The brewery does not bottle or can their beers.

    My other local brewery has yet to officially open their doors (grand opening was scheduled for March 27th), but they have full tanks of beer that they have to sell before it gets old. They have been hand-filling 12 and 16oz crowlers during the week just to have some income, and they sell it via online ordering on weekends for curbside pick up. They haven't mentioned yet whether they will eventually have growlers, but I hope so because it has to be tedious work to hand-fill 781 crowlers. (They sold out of those in one day last Saturday, their first day open for sales.)

    To help support both breweries I have been drinking more beer than normal, but I don't have a problem with doing that. :grin:
     
  15. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (5,826) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
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    I sure hope that Gov. Whitmer is not a BA and reading this. If she is, I am pretty sure an executive order would be forthcoming on this topic.:grimacing:

    Cheers!
     
  16. sharpski

    sharpski Meyvn (1,277) Oct 11, 2010 Oregon
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    Wouldn't a BA Governor (who is truly an advocate) mean the executive order is likely to be in "our" favor? I have zero complaints about Oregon's beer regulations (self-distribution, dock sales, lenient growler/crowler fill regulations), but I find it hard to wish against any elected official sharing my enthusiasm.
     
  17. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (5,826) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
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    That would not be my expectation as regards Gov. Whitmer. Maybe this would be the case for some other Governor?

    Cheers!
     
  18. PapaGoose03

    PapaGoose03 Poo-Bah (3,728) May 30, 2005 Michigan
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    She has made some unpopular decisions. You can go fishing if you row your boat, but if you have a motor on the boat you're violating her order. Landscape services are not open to cut your grass, but you can go to the pot shop and buy some grass. (It's an essential business.) There are other strange decisions too.
     
  19. PapaGoose03

    PapaGoose03 Poo-Bah (3,728) May 30, 2005 Michigan
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    One time only usage even on their own glass?! :astonished::astonished::astonished:
    That's expensive beer.
     
  20. dcotom

    dcotom Poo-Bah (3,112) Aug 4, 2014 Iowa
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    From where I'm sitting, the growler never had a "surgence" to begin with. I've had a few, most of which I received as gifts; however, it's not a good format for me. It ranks right down there with bombers, stovepipes, and pounders.

    Of course, I'd like to see everything in 7-ounce brown-glass bottles, but that's just me.
     
  21. Sheppard

    Sheppard Poo-Bah (2,301) Mar 16, 2013 Massachusetts
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    I've said this a few times, but I thought I was done with growlers until I moved to Virginia. The state has more lenient rules on growler fills than MA which did not allow off premise places to sell growlers nor did it allow breweries to fill outside glass. Off premise places are allowed to fill growlers and they're allowed to fill outside glass. I did get a growler here when I first moved here and have been using it fairly often because my LBS will get beers on draft for fills that they would not otherwise get in a packaged form. They also have crowlers which I have had to get during this social distancing period. Overall, I'd say that I do like growlers from the stand point of being able to get beers that I normally would not be able to get. Overall, I'm firmly in the camp of cans.
     
  22. BBThunderbolt

    BBThunderbolt Poo-Bah (10,026) Sep 24, 2007 Kiribati
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    How do you verify?
     
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  23. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (5,826) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
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    Things are challenging enough having to deal with this stupid virus. Lumping a zany Governor into the mix is just :astonished:

    Cheers!
     
  24. ManBearPat

    ManBearPat Zealot (545) Dec 2, 2014 Colorado

    Y’all making me thirsty..
     
  25. gcamparone

    gcamparone Poo-Bah (2,043) Dec 6, 2011 Rhode Island
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    Never went away around here
     
  26. Premo88

    Premo88 Poo-Bah (2,150) Jun 6, 2010 Texas
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    Here too. Growlers have been around for years, but I've not seen them grow much in popularity beyond the beer geek minority (5-15% maybe?) using them.

    I understand why many don't like them, but from a bar/brewery owner's perspective, is there a reason not to fill a growler (COVID-19 concerns aside)? My point I guess is that I expect growlers will be around forever regardless of their popularity, even if that popularity has been a decade-long flatline at a level of general ambivalence.
     
  27. Singlefinpin

    Singlefinpin Poo-Bah (1,814) Jul 17, 2018 North Carolina
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    I've always liked the growler and would always bring them to holiday and dinner events, fresh beer is hard to beat.
    In my area of NC the rules and situations are changing moment to moment.
    A local tap room is filling growlers that are brought in after they clean them.
    A brewery is filling only their growlers after they clean them.
    Another Brewery is selling beer in crowlers.
    Another Brewery ran out of crowlers and closed, I don't understand why they don't start bottling by hand. It's not that hard right?
    As I said, things change day by day, I'll keep trying to give them all business which means I will need to drink more!
    Cheers!
     
  28. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (5,826) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
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    Well, I can relate one story. I was chatting with the owner of a small, local brewery and somehow the conversation turned to growlers and he mentioned that he stopped selling growlers. I was a bit surprised to hear this and asked: why? He discussed how growlers are intended to be consumed quickly (e.g., buy your growler and drink it the next day) but too many of his customers would sit on the growlers and then drink them and post on social media that the beers of Brewery X suck. He basically said it was not in his best interest to sell growlers because of the 'bad press'.

    I have also heard other brewery owners complain that during the growler fill ups directly from taps they lose a lot of product - the beer foams up during delivery and plenty of beer gets wasted. They are unhappy with the wastage but they still continue to fill growlers since some customers demand it.

    Cheers!
     
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  29. woodchipper

    woodchipper Poo-Bah (1,594) Oct 25, 2005 Connecticut
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    Yea, growlers are back around here. I don't really like them because of the short shelf life. I do understand the price point, product loss on filling and more labor than even a semi-automated canning operation (even the come to your brewery trailer canning is probably cheaper).
    Having said all that, less than an hour ago I purchased a 64oz growler from a local because that's all they offered.
    Another local has always only done crowlers. I like that format better. I do wonder when they will run out of metal though.
     
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  30. Bitterbill

    Bitterbill Poo-Bah (8,354) Sep 14, 2002 Wyoming
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    Frontier Brewing in Casper did not have beer to go so they sure were feeling the pinch.
    They just announced yesterday that they WILL fill Growlers but they had to have help acquiring said Growlers. I reckon that they probably won't fill customers' Growlers.
     
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  31. PapaGoose03

    PapaGoose03 Poo-Bah (3,728) May 30, 2005 Michigan
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    I interpreted your first post as saying they will fill only new growlers, even if it's one from their own brewery. So they will refill their own growlers? If you walk into the brewery with an older one, they'll know it's not new.
     
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  32. BBThunderbolt

    BBThunderbolt Poo-Bah (10,026) Sep 24, 2007 Kiribati
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    You're first interpretation is correct, they are only filling new glass, right out of the box.

    Here in WA, we can fill anything with a sealable cap; Nalgene bottles, empty coke bottles, milk jugs, whatever. But not for the duration of shut-downs. There's just no way to verify cleanliness.
     
  33. mikeinportc

    mikeinportc Poo-Bah (1,909) Nov 4, 2015 New York
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    One here is doing that,plus re-started bottling, that they used to do only for farmers' markets. One is closed entirely, & the other 4 are doing cans & crowlers .
    The North has lowered prices on everything, from what I've seen so far.
    Beer Tree has added 80c to everything, I'd guess due to extra care in handling, plus having everything go through Square Space.
    The beer store where I often get growlers filled has suspended that, & is only doing crowlers. Generally, it was $1 more than 32 oz growler price, but now nothing to compare to, so not sure on that point.
     
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  34. ManBearPat

    ManBearPat Zealot (545) Dec 2, 2014 Colorado

    Have had a couple Zonkers now...
    @Bitterbill approved :slight_smile:
     
  35. mikeinportc

    mikeinportc Poo-Bah (1,909) Nov 4, 2015 New York
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    This comes up periodically here on BA. I (continue to :wink:)find that very strange . The three places that I get growlers from charge less/oz via a growler. The only time I ever get something that is , at least sometimes, canned, is if there are no cans, or get a 32oz to try, when there are no singles(at beer store) , so I don't have to get the full pack of cans/bottles. Probably can count on my fingers how many times the latter has been the case.
    :thinking_face:
     
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  36. Bitterbill

    Bitterbill Poo-Bah (8,354) Sep 14, 2002 Wyoming
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    #2 Foreign/Export Stout on BA. Way to go!
     
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  37. Longhorn08

    Longhorn08 Aspirant (285) Feb 4, 2014 Texas
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    Texas is also allowing restaurants to sell beer and mix drinks to go right now. Grabbed two burgers and Rita’s for me and the wife the other day.
     
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  38. ManBearPat

    ManBearPat Zealot (545) Dec 2, 2014 Colorado

    Knew it was something special, but never noted it’s ranking here. That’s why I’d always grab a case when I was in Wyoming; glad its in Colorado now as it’s an absolute go-to
     
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  39. unlikelyspiderperson

    unlikelyspiderperson Poo-Bah (2,195) Mar 12, 2013 California
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    I don't understand this concern, its quite a simple thing to dip a growler into a tub of sanitizing solution. Dip, rinse, fill, repeat
     
  40. BBThunderbolt

    BBThunderbolt Poo-Bah (10,026) Sep 24, 2007 Kiribati
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    Breweries don't even do that during normal times. Mostly, they're trusting the customer to bring in a "clean" growler. A dip in sani? Does no good if the container isn't clean/sterile to start with. Know any homebrewers? Ask if they would bottle in a bottle that had had a sani dip, but not had been washed first.

    Plus, where would there be space behind a bar for a tub of sani?
     
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