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Why I hate CA growler laws

Discussion in 'Pacific' started by Arbitrator, Sep 3, 2012.

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  1. Xul

    Xul Crusader (766) May 18, 2008 California

    Too bad they charge bar pitcher prices for their fills...it's only a matter of a few bucks, but the beers that I'd be willing to pay the premium for, they won't do growlers of.
  2. MacNCheese

    MacNCheese Initiate (0) Dec 10, 2011 California

    Life sucks, doesn't it. More and more breweries are charging 'pitcher prices' for growlers these days.
  3. tjensen3618

    tjensen3618 Initiate (0) Mar 23, 2008 California

    Like I said before in this thread. 90% of packaged beer has a sticker label.
    Enegren Brewing labels their growlers with stickers.
  4. stupac2

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

    Yeah, but you can see why most breweries would be hesitant to change without a clear, unambiguous ruling. There's a reason that the whole "single brewery growler" thing started in the first place, and it's going to take a statement from someone who's opinion matters (ie no one here) to change their minds.

    That some do it and don't get in trouble doesn't necessarily mean anything. Could just be lax enforcement. I mean, how many bottleshops buy and resell brewery-only beer? I bet we all know of a few, and that is definitely illegal. Just no one cares. But most don't, because it's not worth the (small) risk. I'd venture there's a similar calculation going on here.
  5. tyrsis

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

    They charge only $3 because their fills are expensive. 23 bucks for Bacon and Eggs...
  6. theconductor

    theconductor Aspirant (212) Nov 4, 2008 California

    What if a small start up brewery decided to go green and recycle. They gathered used bottles from other local breweries, restaurants or stores, cleaned them and remove the labels. Then filled them, relabeled them and sold them?
  7. OneBeertoRTA

    OneBeertoRTA Devotee (490) Jan 2, 2010 California
    Beer Trader

    Was at Pizza Port last night and every beer I wanted in a growler or pitcher was only available in sub pint format.

    Alesmith has insanely awesome growler prices
  8. sandiego67

    sandiego67 Initiate (0) Feb 25, 2008 California

    Someone would come up with a theory that it takes more energy and money to clean perfectly good bottles than to haul them away, smash them up, melt them down, produce new bottles and ship them back to you.

    Apparently, no one wants American beer bottles to look like recycled Mexican beer bottles.
  9. theconductor

    theconductor Aspirant (212) Nov 4, 2008 California

    I get that! I just meant, would it be legal?
  10. MacNCheese

    MacNCheese Initiate (0) Dec 10, 2011 California

    So? Ounce for Ounce, that's about what you'd pay for bombers of Victory-at-Sea. I don't really see the issue since none of the pizza ports bottle anything (yet).
  11. mrkrispy

    mrkrispy Initiate (0) Apr 5, 2006 California

    People on BA often don't realize (or don't remember) that local communities and police departments often have a say in beer packaging as well as the ABC. For example, SDPD may require a brewery to have a growler closure that shows whether or not it has been opened or a tag with additional information not found on the container label. The above business code/law does not state that the growler label must have the ABV printed on it, but a police department or local code may insist upon it.
    albertq17 and pinkgrenade like this.
  12. Earlycsquid

    Earlycsquid Zealot (533) Jan 7, 2013 California
    Beer Trader

    Don't most places handle that by simply plastic wrap sealing the top or zip tying it and giving your growler a little tag that states what it is and the abv info.

    How much more difficult would it be to just slap a sticker on it of your company logo.
  13. elNopalero

    elNopalero Poo-Bah (2,647) Oct 14, 2009 Texas
    Beer Trader

    So where in the great state of California can you get your (outsider) growlers filled? (Filled and appropriately labeled with a tag or sticker slapped on the jug as per the law, that is.)
  14. hophead247

    hophead247 Disciple (370) Jan 27, 2008 California
    Beer Trader

    Buffalo Bills in Hayward will fill any growler with their beer no matter where it's from...and I've never seen them place a sticker, tag, etc on the growler.

    It is Buffalo Bills though...
  15. MacNCheese

    MacNCheese Initiate (0) Dec 10, 2011 California

    One of you armchair lawyers needs to sue the ABC and get clarification via a judge.
  16. rob133

    rob133 Initiate (0) Jan 7, 2009 California

    Ale Industries in Concord (but maybe soon moving to Oakland) have filled any growler and placed a sticker on them since they opened up. It's been a while since I stopped by, but I am not aware that they have changed their policy.

    I have also been at ******* and seen them fill a wide variety of random flip top bottles. From 64oz growlers, to the 32 oz flip top bottle (they produce themselves) to random wine shaped bottles. Not sure it is something they do on a regular basis, but I have seen the same people get fills on more than one occasion - no labels were being fixed.

    ******* - I'll leave the name out as I truly think these were a friend of the server and not something they do regularly if you walk up and ask.
  17. drewone

    drewone Meyvn (1,392) Sep 18, 2006 California
    Subscriber Beer Trader

    There is a place in Berkeley that allowed me to fill my Russian River growler up. ( I called before I went to ask if they had growler and was told no but if I had one they would fill it).
  18. MacNCheese

    MacNCheese Initiate (0) Dec 10, 2011 California

    I LOVE their *(#?>%* beer and the !!@#*^%'s beer so much!
  19. rob133

    rob133 Initiate (0) Jan 7, 2009 California

    Well I didn't see any value in calling out a barman for doing something I don't believe he does on a regular basis, and I am not sure that he was doing it with the brewers/owners consent - therefore I see little value in naming the place.
  20. stupac2

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

    I just heard back from the ABC person:

    So that sounds pretty definitive.
    DrAwkward82 and SageO like this.
  21. evilc

    evilc Initiate (0) Jan 27, 2012 California

    Sure does. Now, will any breweries listen? I'd buy 10 unlabeled SS growlers if every brewery would stop being a-holes.
  22. grilledsquid

    grilledsquid Devotee (478) Jul 10, 2009 California
    Beer Trader

    Is this a new ruling or has nothing changed over the past few years? If it's the latter, then I guess breweries simply want the extra $$$ from glass, but, I don't see why they'd operate this way as they'd just be shooting themselves in the foot. I have a hard time believing those who abstain from growler fills due to not having branded glass are in the minority.
  23. Sebowski

    Sebowski Initiate (122) Jan 11, 2010 California
    Beer Trader

    Get the answer straight from ABC in a room full of brewery people.


  24. mrkrispy

    mrkrispy Initiate (0) Apr 5, 2006 California

    That is a good response. Now, will the same person with the same interpretation always be the one to do an unannounced inspection? Is there legal precedent backing this response? I am betting no.

    The reason, at least at a few places I frequent in San Diego, that they have these label rules are from previous inspectors coming in and threatening their licenses because their labeling did not fit "the law".
    It would be great if the breweries got a definitive and binding word on the growler labeling laws.
  25. DrAwkward82

    DrAwkward82 Initiate (55) Apr 16, 2005 California

    I am guessing that this is the issue. While I'm sure that there are some breweries just trying to sell a little extra glass, all of them know that state ABC laws can be archaic, ambiguous and inconsistently enforced. Given the extreme cost and hassle of being cited or shut down even for an infraction that later ends up being overturned, I can't blame brewers for wanting to be absolutely certain that growler fill allowances are codified in writing and categorically on the books (and not just via an informal e-mail or discussion) before proceeding.
  26. tjensen3618

    tjensen3618 Initiate (0) Mar 23, 2008 California

    I smell a letter writing campaign...

    When I get a bit more time on my hands next week, I'll shoot some e-mails to some brewers I'll attack it from the environmentally friendly standpoint and see what they say.
  27. tjensen3618

    tjensen3618 Initiate (0) Mar 23, 2008 California

    "Rule 130
    section (d) For purposes of this section, "affixed" means the placement, by any means, of a label or notice, or the information required on a label or notice, on a container of beer."

    Brewers could stick a piece of masking tape with the pertinent information onto the growler and be within the law.
  28. stupac2

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

    Yeah, I responded asking if there were any way to get a legal ruling, like an ABC memo to breweries. We'll see if anything comes of that. I obviously don't think that my e-mail exchange with someone at the ABC is going to carry any weight with any brewer, but if we can manage to get an actual, official memo out, then maybe we have a chance.
    tjensen3618 and grilledsquid like this.
  29. elNopalero

    elNopalero Poo-Bah (2,647) Oct 14, 2009 Texas
    Beer Trader

    Bravo, good people, bravo!
  30. albertq17

    albertq17 Initiate (122) Oct 11, 2010 California

    You guys, after much hard work and plenty of e-mails, finally get brewers to change their policies on growler fills. To celebrate, you visit your nearest brewery to fill a growler and cheer your victory. You notice that the prices for fills on the menu are two bucks higher than before. You politely ask why the resent jump in price and are told that to offset the money not gained by the sales of the glass, the price per fill has gone up. The guy behind you in line taps you in the shoulder and says "you didn't really think they were gunna be the ones loosing out did you?".
  31. evilc

    evilc Initiate (0) Jan 27, 2012 California

    Still fine with it. I'd rather have 10 growlers than 50.
  32. albertq17

    albertq17 Initiate (122) Oct 11, 2010 California

    You have 50 growlers!?
  33. tjensen3618

    tjensen3618 Initiate (0) Mar 23, 2008 California

    Yup, there's local breweries and breweries down south that I occasionally visit that I'd like to get growler fills from, but refuse to do it because I don't want the extra glass/SS.

    Most recently Rip Current, I would have loved to fill a growler there while on a vacation, but didn't want to buy theirs only to use it once or twice a year.
  34. evilc

    evilc Initiate (0) Jan 27, 2012 California

    Yes. I live in San Diego. 10 alone are from Alpine.
    mrkrispy and blguillen like this.
  35. blguillen

    blguillen Initiate (0) Apr 19, 2011 California

    I have maybe 10 growlers in total. Plan on getting two more today. LOL. (not by choice obviously), but its all good. Superbowl is on Sunday :sunglasses:
  36. evilc

    evilc Initiate (0) Jan 27, 2012 California

    10 is the ideal TOTAL # if you could refill anywhere. Allows you to buy a 1/6 barrel for a party since most breweries won't sell you one.

    Alpine wouldn't in 1 million years sell you a 1/6 of Bad Boy. You and 2 mules = 10 growlers. ( usually limit 4 on that beer )

    Bad Boy party = priceless.
    DougOLis likes this.
  37. Earlycsquid

    Earlycsquid Zealot (533) Jan 7, 2013 California
    Beer Trader

    I thought they were in the beer making business. Not the glass selling one.

    Squeezing out an extra $15for the sale of glass with the company logo shouldn't be the focus. Cranking out and moving liquid is where that focus should be.

    Hell, even if they did a sort of CRV for growlers where it's a five buck deposit and you can return it to the brewer for it in return, that would be a lot better than having to buy a new growler for each location.
    afrokaze likes this.
  38. rmdownward

    rmdownward Aspirant (295) Feb 10, 2007 California

    In this conversation I'm quite surprised by the assumption that brewers are only selling glass to make an extra buck. Given that the ABC regs are very unclear and ambiguous my feeling is that they are just covering their behinds rather than get shut down. Until there is a clear and direct clarification from the ABC to all brewers this is always going to be the case. It just bugs me when brewers are accused of trying to screw the public (limited releases, growlers) with malice aforethought when all it really may be is a business decision.

    Call me naive, but I'd rather give them benefit of the doubt.
  39. jtmartino

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

    You're right. My brother had a long talk with a distribution rep for Sierra Nevada last night. Apparently each county in California may have its own laws regarding this very issue.
    flexabull likes this.
  40. stupac2

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

    That's why I'm trying to get the ABC to clarify the matter. On that front, my contact told me she's passed my request on to a supervisor. Hurray bureaucracy!
    rmdownward likes this.
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