The future of growlers?

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by Rysk22, Apr 15, 2021.

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  1. Rysk22

    Rysk22 Zealot (558) Nov 12, 2014 Massachusetts
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    I know in New England, growlers have gone the way of the Dodo Bird during covid. Do you think this is just a temporary shift due to taprooms being shut down? Perhaps they'll make a comeback once we're back to normal?

    I really miss being able to grab a fresh filled growler to take home and enjoy or bring to a gathering. There's just something special about growler fills, not sure what it is.
     
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  2. Bitterbill

    Bitterbill Poo-Bah (8,354) Sep 14, 2002 Wyoming
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    Plenty of Growlers in Casper Wyoming though Crowlers are available at all of the Breweries here vs Growlers; the glass is mostly available at bars and liquor stores
     
  3. moodenba

    moodenba Defender (637) Feb 2, 2015 New York

    I have had my beer store on Long Island, NY, fill my growlers, and a restaurant nearby includes a (new) quart growler with take out dinner for 4. I hope they are here to stay. Quart crowlers are pretty much single serve, and too much for me. I won't usually purchase them.
     
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  4. RaulMondesi

    RaulMondesi Poo-Bah (4,633) Dec 11, 2006 California
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    Didn’t trust peeps sanitation skills before COVID and I still won’t after. But as long as the brewery/tap room or whatever properly sanitizes the growlers I’ll still get mine filled.
     
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  5. PapaGoose03

    PapaGoose03 Poo-Bah (3,728) May 30, 2005 Michigan
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    Both of my local breweries started pushing growlers when bars and restaurants were ordered closed except for carry-out, and they're still pushing them even with 50% indoor occupancy now permitted. I think it's been successful in helping to sell a lot of beer.

    Now both breweries have a small canning machine that allows them to sell beer via that container, and one of the breweries has even distributed a couple of their beers. I suspect that after the pandemic is over that the growlers may get phased out since cans are a better alternative for take-home beer, but who knows.
     
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  6. mmmbeerNY

    mmmbeerNY Devotee (491) Mar 5, 2014 New York

    Places in NY, both breweries and beer stores, are still filling growlers now and did last summer too. Pandemic increased drinking at home so growlers to me have more of a place in the market
     
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  7. mmmbeerNY

    mmmbeerNY Devotee (491) Mar 5, 2014 New York

    Cans of course still are a need for purchasing beer that is not going to be consumed soon.

    Although in general I prefer growler over crowlers if buying beer to drink fresh as my glass is resuable and resealable for day or two
     
  8. dennisthreeninefiveone

    dennisthreeninefiveone Initiate (164) Aug 11, 2020 New Jersey
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  9. rocdoc1

    rocdoc1 Disciple (306) Jan 13, 2006 New Mexico

    In my younger days a 64 oz growler was perfect, I would have no problem drinking it, given a couple of hours and not caring about the diminished fizz of the last glass. As a senior citizen there's no way I would purchase a growler now even though there's a brewpub in town that fills them. I used to go to a liquor store in Mobile AL that got a crowler machine-that was a much better deal for me, but since my parents died several years ago I don't have any reason to visit Mobile on a regular basis. I don't have a clue where the closest place with crowlers is. I have a shelf in my garage with about 15 growlers from assorted breweries, they just sit there collecting dust now.
     
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  10. dennisthreeninefiveone

    dennisthreeninefiveone Initiate (164) Aug 11, 2020 New Jersey
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    As another senior I've switched to the 32 OZ growlers.
     
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  11. matthewp

    matthewp Aspirant (234) Feb 27, 2015 Massachusetts
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    Growlers were kind of dying pre-COVID in MA. Partly because of the crappy laws in MA. In NE as a whole Allagash notably added growlers during COVID after not having them previously which is a bit of an outlier.

    I think overall though it depends on the business model of the brewery. Night Shift was one of the early breweries to get rid of growlers. I believe they noted issues with the growler laws as well as that growlers aren't the optimal delivery method (e.g. they don't last long). Realistically though I think for places like Night Shift growlers don't fit in their business model. If they have something special on tap its better to get you to come in and sit at the bar than to have you come in and get it in a growler to go. Growlers take too long to fill that could be used by the bartender to serve other people and make more money. Night Shift's model was butts in seats whereas someone like Trillium was beer to go, Trillium doesn't distribute so getting you in to buy beer to go makes sense. I don't recall Tree House ever getting back to selling growlers but for them historically it was more about just keeping up with can sales, they didn't need to convince anyone to come pick up beer to go. Growlers were just a lower volume and higher man powered distraction. So I think with the overall switch to getting people to come to breweries to stay and hang out has made the growler model somewhat less important than it was years ago. For smaller breweries growlers or crowlers are more important because they are just trying to ramp up volume any way possible. Their tap room to canning capacity ratio isn't as optimized as bigger places. So my personal opinion is you will see smaller breweries selling growlers again post COVID but it won't be due to customer demand, it will be based on what fits into the brewery's model and what makes them the most money.
     
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  12. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (5,828) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
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    What are the laws in MA which discourage growlers?

    Cheers!
     
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  13. Rysk22

    Rysk22 Zealot (558) Nov 12, 2014 Massachusetts
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    Breweries used to be able to only fill their own branded growlers, then the law changes to say they can fill blank growlers but those growlers need to have the government warning on them... I don't think I've ever seen a blank growler like that. The laws in this country are so stupid sometimes.
     
  14. rocdoc1

    rocdoc1 Disciple (306) Jan 13, 2006 New Mexico

    When I would visit my parents in Alabama there were laws discouraging growlers. For instance sellers were not allowed to use glass growlers or any other reusable containers, beer had to be put into half gallon plastic milk jugs that were not reusable. I haven't been there in several years so I don't know if that has changed
     
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  15. BBThunderbolt

    BBThunderbolt Poo-Bah (10,026) Sep 24, 2007 Kiribati
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    Growlers are very much alive and well here in the PNW. I personally haven't filled one (other than one of my Nalgene bottles, for taking to the park) in years, but I see lots of folks getting them filled at the breweries.
     
  16. tinoynk

    tinoynk Initiate (128) Sep 25, 2010 New York
    Trader

    Occasionally I see people going into a bar or brewery for a growler fill, but it's not super common and I never found the format very appealing. Most breweries here have a healthy selection of cans to-go, and I'm not sure why anybody would opt for a growler over cans of the same beer.
     
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  17. IPAs_for_days_13

    IPAs_for_days_13 Devotee (444) May 29, 2020 Texas

    Growlers honestly never went away in TX, if anything they are just becoming more popular from what I have seen.
     
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  18. slander

    slander Poo-Bah (2,372) Nov 5, 2001 New York
    Moderator Society

    I donated upwards of 3 dozen growlers of all sizes, shapes, & colors to bars that could fill them for people who didn't own their own. Kept the ones I use & cool ones, of course, but people were happy to have them.
     
  19. slander

    slander Poo-Bah (2,372) Nov 5, 2001 New York
    Moderator Society

    Sadly, IMHO, the growler is dying.
    States and even certain establishments that will only fill their own were bad enough, but then the crowler happened. Easy storage, buy in bulk for cheap, and there's no upcharge for one so people don't balk at it, so win win, right?
    No. People think of a crowler as if it's just a big can and expect it to hold up like one, which it won't. It's more like a growler in keeping, and depending on who's crimping and how well, won't even hold up as well as one.
    And FFS breweries, at least either BOLDFACE print "you need to drink in a week" on the label you use or write the canning date on the crowler with a sharpie, will ya?
     
    #19 slander, Apr 15, 2021
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2021
  20. TheeWarPig

    TheeWarPig Initiate (142) Sep 30, 2015 Michigan
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    They are dying.

    Most in my area are switching to crowlers.

    Crowlers keep much longer (if filled correctly) are single serve, don't take up as much room in the fridge and are usually less expensive.
     
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  21. nc41

    nc41 Poo-Bah (2,771) Sep 25, 2008 North Carolina
    Society Trader

    Price aside I love Crowlers, Growlers are usually too much beer. It’s just me, so no one to share with.
     
  22. NickTheGreat

    NickTheGreat Zealot (538) Oct 28, 2010 Iowa
    Trader

    Here in Iowa, even small breweries have gone to Crowlers. A little easier to handle, and you can fill in advance.

    I feel a little about single use containers, but I suppose recycling helps that. I also don't always feel like 32 oz of beer in a sitting. Especially High ABV on a weeknight!
     
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  23. dennisthreeninefiveone

    dennisthreeninefiveone Initiate (164) Aug 11, 2020 New Jersey
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    I guess they don’t have 32 OZ growlers in NC. I dislike Crowlers unsealable, not reusable and costly.
     
  24. BBThunderbolt

    BBThunderbolt Poo-Bah (10,026) Sep 24, 2007 Kiribati
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    Yeah, we keep a few empties at work for employees, who want to some beer home. everybody has a few, and we take 'em back, cuz nobody wants to have them hanging around the house.
     
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  25. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (5,828) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
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    I wonder if there will be a resurgence of the 'old school' growler!?! :thinking_face:

    [​IMG]
     
  26. mikeinportc

    mikeinportc Poo-Bah (1,909) Nov 4, 2015 New York
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    Less expensive? :thinking_face:
    $1 less, or same$, with growler , the places I go.
     
  27. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (5,828) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
    Society

    One advantage of the glass growler (vs. crowler for example) is that it is a package that is reused. Sure, it has to be cleaned (which I have done with prompt hot water rinses) but it could be reused many, many times. I would think this would be considered a benefit by the sustainability crowd.

    Cheers!
     
  28. mmmbeerNY

    mmmbeerNY Devotee (491) Mar 5, 2014 New York

    I understand the comments about 32oz crowlers size if growlers were only 64oz, but in my experience I use my 32oz and 750ml growlers just as much or more than the 64oz
     
  29. Bitterbill

    Bitterbill Poo-Bah (8,354) Sep 14, 2002 Wyoming
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    One store in Casper has 16, 32 & 64 ounce Growlers. Love the 16.
     
  30. hudsonvalleyslim

    hudsonvalleyslim Disciple (366) May 29, 2003 Massachusetts

    Growlers are my favorite vessel but they're going out of vogue here in Massachusetts. Even before Covid. You know you're getting super fresh beer from the source. I don't have an issue drinking it withing a couple of days either. I like the 'reuse' aspect.
     
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  31. dennisthreeninefiveone

    dennisthreeninefiveone Initiate (164) Aug 11, 2020 New Jersey
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    That is a very big "IF"
     
  32. BBThunderbolt

    BBThunderbolt Poo-Bah (10,026) Sep 24, 2007 Kiribati
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    Yup. Price per ounce for glass is cheaper, cuz the breweries have to pay for the crowlers, and bake that price in to the consumer cost.
     
  33. BillAfromSoCal

    BillAfromSoCal Zealot (585) Aug 24, 2020 California

    Yep, totally agree. at this stage in life a crowler is a nice size. A growler is wasted with me because verrry few friends would even help me drink the craft beers I like and the family is wine-centric.
     
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  34. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (5,828) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
    Society

    A solution here is a 32 ounce growler. I own two of them; I suppose I could get them both filled up for two stage drinking pleasure (something I never thought of until today :flushed:).

    Cheers!
     
  35. unlikelyspiderperson

    unlikelyspiderperson Poo-Bah (2,195) Mar 12, 2013 California
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    I'm a member of a brewery that is growler fills only. 1 or 2 L, all swing top and filled under pressure like a regular bottle. They last for months unopened in the fridge and can be opened and resealed at least twice before the carb drops. I enjoy them
     
  36. dbrauneis

    dbrauneis Poo-Bah (10,495) Dec 8, 2007 North Carolina
    Moderator Society Trader

    There are 32 oz growlers in NC but they are definitely not ubiquitous - crowlers are much more common for the 32 oz size.

    Also in NC the date filled is required on the label.
     
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  37. Giantspace

    Giantspace Meyvn (1,051) Dec 22, 2011 Pennsylvania

    Just filled a 32oz last week. Blood orange mango sour. First one in a long time. I wanted to try the beer but would not go in and sit at the bar so I grabbed one from my car and it was a very nice beer. Might go back, $8 for fresh local beer is ok treat for me.

    Enjoy
     
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  38. PapaGoose03

    PapaGoose03 Poo-Bah (3,728) May 30, 2005 Michigan
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    It's called a Howler, Jack. A Howler. :wink:
     
  39. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (5,828) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
    Society

    :confused:

    I thought this is called a "howler"

    [​IMG]
     
  40. dennisthreeninefiveone

    dennisthreeninefiveone Initiate (164) Aug 11, 2020 New Jersey
    Trader

    That's a good reason.
     
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