Stuck On The Connector: A Case Against Growlers

They say what’s old is new, and what’s touted as new is really old. The newest trend in craft brew sales is rather an old concept.

Recently in Georgia we’ve been allowed to purchase 64-ounce bottles of draft beer, aka “growlers,” from retail establishments.

Fantastic! Well, maybe not.

On the surface growlers seem like a great idea. A growler contains draft beer, which is delicious, right? The draft beer is drawn from a keg, which should reduce the cost for the brewery, right? A growler is a refillable glass bottle, which is great for the environment, right?

But wait.

  • The first time you buy a growler bottle you have to pay a nominal fee, $3 from what I’ve seen, for the bottle. Funny, when I buy six-packs of beer that cost is built into to total price.
  • The normal growler bottle holds 64-ounces of beer, which if you do the math is 5.333 12-ounce bottles of beer.
  • The average price for a growler refill is $12. The average price I pay for a quality six-pack of beer at a retail store hovers around $9 these days.
  • Because the growler contains draft beer once you crack the seal on the bottle you have to drink the beer within a handful of days otherwise the beer will go flat.

So let me get this straight… After spending $3 for a bottle in which it’ll be poured I am paying $12 for less than a six pack’s worth of beer which I must drink quickly otherwise it’ll go flat?

Not any longer… I love craft beer as much as the next guy or gal but I’m going to refuse to throw money away in order to be trendy. I’ll return to buying my beer in bottles or cans, or if I want to spend the big bucks at one of the many local bars I enjoy frequenting.

Feel free to leave a comment and tell me how wrong I am…

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9 Responses to Stuck On The Connector: A Case Against Growlers

  1. Steve says:

    I don’t think it’s a function of the growler, I think it’s a function of the beer. IT you like the locally crafted beer and want to support them, the only way, besides sitting in their bar and drinking would be a growler.

    And I’ve seen you drink.. you can handle the time constraints.


  2. I can drink 64-ounces in one evening, I just don’t like being encouraged to do so. 😉

  3. Pingback: Inside The Perimeter » Slightly Better Day

  4. mingaling says:

    I see what you’re saying, but one mathematical point: lately most of the craft beers I’ve purchased have come in 4-packs, vs. 6. So that’s a lot less beer for about $12-13, and in that instance a growler would be preferable.

  5. Barb says:

    I only see it as an option if that beer is not sold by the bottle/4 pack/6 pack. You pay approx. $5 a pint at a bar, so in that instance it is a better deal.

  6. If you are going the 4-pack route than I agree with you. The price of quality beer keeps rising, I’m just trying to point out that buying in “bulk” might not always be the most economical option.

    Unfortunately it’s getting harder to find a $5 pint of (quality) beer. However in that instance I also understand that I’m paying toward the salary of the server and the rent and profit of the bar in addition to the cost of the beer.

  7. Jenka says:

    A 64 ounce growler is meant to be four 16-ounce pints’ worth.

    You only pay the $3 the first time, though, right? Afterwards when you go back to refill you don’t have to pay that. Also, isn’t it about the taste? Draft beer is better, for me it’s worth an extra couple bucks.

    I used to get growlers all the time at my local brewpub in Ithaca, NY back in the 90s. They were doing them since the 80s on up to the present day. The first time you filled up they charged for 4 pints of whatever beer you chose, and if you brought it back for a refill they filled it for the cost of 3 pints.

  8. The extra $3 is a one-time cost per bottle. The cost for a refill is about $12.

    It is about the taste indeed, but you must consume the 64-ounces prior to it going flat, whereas you can keep sealed 12-ounce bottles for much longer. My biggest gripe is that the cost is lower for the producer and retailer, yet the consumer is paying a premium price.

  9. Smoove D says:

    Hop City had Victory Headwaters on the growler station and on the shelf at the same time. After a quick calculation, I determined that opting for the growler refill got you $7.99 worth of beer for $10.99. I’m done with growlers, although mine did come out of retirement on Monday night for some Eye Patch.

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