Growler Revolution

The jugs are taking over as the To Go of choice

With the increasing amount of draught only beers, growlers are becoming a must in today's craft beer revolution. If you can't find it in a bottle, how else are you going to be able to share your new favorite beer with your crew?

The need for transporting fresh beer goes back all the way to the late 1800s. Beer lovers would carry home beer from their local tavern in an open pail or hire a "Bucket Boy or Girl " to deliver the beer to their home. Could you imagine that?

Fast forward quite a few decades, outlast Prohibition, and growler buckets had lids. Around the 1950s, instead of using pails, to go beer containers were made of wax lined paper. Ideal? Hardly. It took about thirty more years until the modern day growler was introduced. I use the term "modern day" loosely, as it seems that over the past few years, growler styles have become the newest trend in personalizing the craft beer experience.

Growler filling stations, seen recently in craft beer and growler bars, are becoming a popular destination for those looking for fresh craft beer to go.

As growlers become more popular, the ways people store, transport and dispense beer from these portable vessels is getting more creative too. Growler sweaters anyone?









Malt-Bag Carrier

Bike Belt


Traditional Growler: a 64 ounce glass container with a narrow neck opening and screw top cap. Available at nearly every taproom or brewery, these usually come printed with the establishment's logo and are relatively inexpensive ($5-$8 unfilled). Sometimes the glass is brown, to prevent sunlight from skunking the beer, other times they are clear. A downside to these containers is that once they are opened, the carbonation of the beer quickly dissipates. If you know that you are going to be drinking a half gallon of beer within 48 hours, not too daunting of a feat, then these are probably the cheapest and easiest way to go.

Growlette: a 32 ounce glass container that reminds me of an old elixir bottle. I am starting to see more and more of these out and about. Drinkers are more willing to get a few pints to go in lieu of an entire half gallon. An even narrow opening than a growler lends itself to being able to drink right out of the container. Usually printed with the tavern or brewery's logo, growlettes are an even more inexpensive way ($3-$5 unfilled) to walk away with a reusable souvenir full of brew.

Belgian Growler: a one to two liter glass container with a swing top and usually with an ornate metal handle. These containers have a heavier grade glass and the hardware on them makes them a quite a bit more expensive ($30-$60 depending on artwork, unfilled). I have a couple swing tops that just have a screen printed logo from the brewery. But, I have also seen some intricately etched glass collection worthy ones too. As with everything in life: the fancier the pricier. While cost might be a deterrent, an advantage of this type of growler is the airtight seal the swing top closure creates. Again though, once opened it is best to enjoy the contents within a few days.

HydroFlask ( a stainless steel container that is vacuum insulated and uses BPA free plastic. Originally used for keeping cold water cold (up to 24 hours) and hot coffee hot (up to 12 hours), it wasn't too long that we started seeing these outdoorsy beer containers in breweries. The price, ranging from $30-$50 depending on size, might seem a bit steep. However, it quickly becomes apparent that having a container that not only keeps a vacuum tight seal, but also keeps the beverage cold, is a necessity. In addition, the fact that light can't sneak in and skunk your brew is a huge plus. While the previous growler types do mostly have amber tinted glass to decrease beer being light struck, it can still happen. A bit pricey, these durable multipurpose vessels seem to be worth it.

Ceramic Growler: a new trend based on the old artisan craft of pottery. I have seen a few old school ceramic growlers at flea markets and art shows. A new company in Oregon, established in 2010, Portland Growler Company, found a niche in the middle of Brewvana. They have encompassed the feeling of local by bringing Northwest native designers, ceramicists, and clay together to make these small batched creations. Prices are based on style and design, hovering right around $65. Much like the HydroFlask, this container doesn't allow light to get in. The swing top lid also keeps the carbonation sealed in for days. Functional growler meets local art.

Carlburg Pottery is hand making growlers and they are truly one of a kind.

The growlers are totally and completely customizable to your specifications.

Stainless Steel Growler: a shiny container in a variety of sizes and styles, that uses food grade stainless steel that has been either pickled or passivated in order to prevent your beer from tasting metallic. Single or double wall insulated, this type of growler also has the potential to keep your beer nice and cold. They come with screw tops, lined with food grade BPA free plastic lined lids, or hinge tops, with prices ranging anywhere from $20-$70 unfilled. The variety in styles, shapes, and volume allow for taprooms to cater to the beer drinkers need. Much like the HydroFlask and the Ceramic Growler, light is unable to penetrate through the vessel, so your beer stays fresh. It also seems like these would be a much durable container, as long as you don't mind the dents that would occur when you dropped it on the ground a few times. Brauler - Modular Growler System


Growler On Board: Now that you have your growler all filled up, how can you safely transport it home? Meet Growler On Board ( Like a car seat for your child, Growler on Board nestles up to three growlers in a light foam seat that buckles into your backseat.

Designed by Kevin Johnson, this Northwest native found a solution to a problem that he encountered: unsecured growlers full of beer rolling around in his backseat. You can also use this product to dry your traditional glass growlers. There is a hole in the bottom of each "seat" that securely holds your growler upside down, in order for it to dry completely.

TapIt Cap : Trending on Kickstarter is the The TapIt Cap. It claims to bring beer growlers into the 21st century, keeping beer fresh longer. The TapIt Cap is a patent-pending design that ensures the beer in your growler remains fresh and carbonated.

TapIt Cap - Beer Growler's Best Friend

Drink Tanks: Another growler project on Kickstarter is the Drink Tank. It is designed to keep beer cold, fresh and carbonated, so what's not to love?.

It also has an adaptor keg tap cap lid that locks in place of the standard lid, and offers a place to inject CO2, a release valve to prevent overfilling, and a tap hose that lets the whole thing serve as a portable keg. KickStarter Page

Growler Tap: This is one of the early growler dispense systems and it uses a hand pump.

This easy to use tap accessory fits securely onto the top of the 2-Liter Growler. Simply attach to your growler, squeeze the pump and your homebrew is ready to serve with a twist of the handle. The growler tapping device is for serving purposes only and can not be used for beer storage and/or carbonating. Growler Tapping Device

Want to see more Growlers and Growler Accessories?

Heather Erickson is a home brewer and math teacher in Tacoma, WA. Her home brewery is named H2 Brewing. A craft beer lover for over a decade, Heather finally made her first batch of beer in 2010. Over the past three years, she has experimented with different styles, ranging from a triple hopped Barleywine to a Peanut Butter Porter. With hops in her family, her great grandfather was a hop farmer, it is no surprise that Heather's favorite style to brew and drink is an IPA. She religiously brews 10 gallons a month on a SABCO Brew Magic system.

Follow Heather on her homebrew journey

Related Articles:
Putting Your Homebrew on Draft - Quick ways to fill growlers with homebrew.
Filling Growlers - Proper techniques for filling growlers from your kegerator.
Glassware Guide - The correct glassware for your homebrew.