Tops at the Taps: Law Change Boosts Popularity of Beer Growlers

Photography By Heather Gill | September 15, 2012
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Beer growlers, refillable draft beer containers

Recent changes to Arizona law have brought renewed interest in the refillable 64-ounce draft-beer containers known as growlers. In the past, you could only obtain growlers directly from breweries; now retail establishments such as bars, restaurants and liquor stores can serve beer directly from their taps to your growlers (should they choose to participate).

According to the Beer Advocate, the container's unusual name is said to date from the late 1800s and early 1900s when the customary way to take beer home was in a pail. As the CO2 escaped from the pail, it made a growling sound. Over the years, the growler evolved, until in 1989 it emerged in its current form: a 64-ounce glass jug with a handle and the name of the brewery or distributor etched onto the side.

The price for the unfilled growlers we purchased locally ranged from $4 to $12. The cost to top off a growler also varies, based on the establishment and the pedigree of the brew selected to fill it. Although an unopened growler may theoretically last up to seven days in your refrigerator, the consensus of the bar keepers, brewers and beer drinkers we talked to is to purchase the growler with the expectation of consuming it in one to two days. And keep that growler clean in order to preserve the quality and freshness of the brew.

beer taps
© iofoto -

Why go to so much trouble when you could just pick up a six-pack? Many beer drinkers have a keen appreciation for draft, rather than bottled beer. Growlers also provide the opportunity to take home a special brew that may not be available in another format. Our suggestion? Think growlers when you're having a party. Pick up something interesting and share it with your beer-loving friends.

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