The opportunity to bring home fresh beer right from the brewer’s tap is made possible by the age-old beer growler system. In theory, you can walk into a local bar or brewery and ask for a fill up of either a traditional 32- or 64-ounce glass growler.
Using growlers, you can forgo the six-pack and help to protect the environment, all the while enjoying the freshest beer around.
Well, you can – if your state allows it.
There are some interesting growler laws that vary state-by-state and sometimes municipality-by-municipality. To learn about the specific laws in your state, the Brewers Association offers a detailed explanation here.
If you plan on using growlers for your own craft brew business, or you are visiting breweries or bars outside your home state, you can use this information and know what to expect.
No-Go on Growlers
There are states that don’t allow growlers to be used at all by pubs or craft beer brewers. These states include South Dakota, Pennsylvania, and Georgia.
In fact, Georgia laws allow retailers to make growlers available for sale to the public, but the people who actually make the beer can’t offer growlers. To make matters more confusing, growler retail sales laws in Georgia vary by county.
In Texas and Oklahoma, you can get a growler filled at a local brewery or pub, but you can’t take it home with you.
One-Place Only Growlers, Please
Several states allow for growler fill-ups at breweries, but only if it’s their own growler. Essentially, you can’t bring just any jug back into the brewery for a refill, thus reducing the benefit of recycling containers.
States that go by these laws include Massachusetts, North Carolina, and Minnesota. California used to follow these rules but upped their standards recently to allow the refill of outside growlers as long as an identification sticker is used to identify the refilling brewery.
New Jersey also allows for growler reuse, providing a sticker is added to the exterior.
In Florida, you can fill up a growler, but only if you bring in a 32-ounce or 128-ounce size. This is a particularly interesting regulation, considering the 64-ounce growler size is the industry standard.
Other states following Florida’s lead that ban 64-ounce growlers include Mississippi and Idaho.
Bring on the Growlers
The states with the most relaxed growler laws include Oregon, which allows the convenience of filling up growlers at the local gas station’s beer-filling counter.
You can even use any covered container to obtain your beer, provided it isn’t bigger than two gallons, or 256 ounces.
Many other states allow the use of growlers, but it’s worthwhile to look up the rules in each location before you head to your favorite brewery.
If you plan to manufacture your own craft beer, having a clear understanding of the growler laws in your area and state will prevent a lot of frustration and expense down the line.
If you manufacture craft beer in a permissible area and need high-quality beer growlers, check in with the container experts at BottleStore.com. With bulk pricing opportunities and a selection of durable, well-sealing craft beer growlers, we have what you need to keep your growlers flowing.