~ Tailgating, BBQ's, patio parties and more...growlers are all the rage, and for good reason. ~
What is it? A growler is a refillable glass container for transporting craft beer. Half gallon (64oz) is the standard size, with smaller 32oz 'growlets' also available, depending on where you're buying.
What's with the name? The most agreed-upon answer dates back to the late 1800's, when beer was transported home from local pubs in small, galvanized steel pails. As the beer sloshed about, carbonation escaped, creating a "growling" noise. Another common reference is "rushing the growler" - kids bringing their parents these pails of beer on their factory lunch breaks. Prohibition and it's repeal added some interesting twists, and take-home beer container styles fluctuated a few more times before the 'modern day growler' was coined and claimed. According to Beer Advocate,
"... in 1989, Charlie Otto and his father were discussing the dilemma facing the Otto Brothers Brewery. They wanted to offer "beer-to-go" for their local customers, but they were not yet in a position to bottle. Father Otto suggested the use of "growlers," which were used in his younger days, but Charlie recognized the need for an updated package type. He purchased a small silkscreen machine, and set it up on his patio. Soon he was silk-screening his logo on half-gallon glass bottles that resembled moonshine jugs. The modern-day "growler" was introduced."
Why the hype? Two main reasons, really - convenience and economics. Grabbing a growler to go means libations for your whole gang, whether you're headed to the game or just home for dinner on the patio. Economy wise, most breweries offer significant discounts on growler refills vs. buying a six pack of the same brew from a liquor store, or even ordering a pint on tap at the bar. Growlers are also incredibly eco-friendly - no glass bottle recycling worries here, just rinse and re-use next time. An added perk? The swag factor - you can rep your favorite breweries no matter where you are.
While most craft breweries have been on board with the concept for awhile, many specialty grocery stores such as Whole Foods are jumping on the bandwagon, as CrushBrew points out. Training their employees to connect on customers' beer preferences enhances the customer service experience offered in the liquor section, and helps specialty grocers compete for beer sales in areas with numerous micro-breweries.
Check out Thrillist, Growler Station and Hop Religion for more growler history, and tell us where you get your growler fix below!
~ Join the Conversation ~