If a customer is ordering take-out at a craft brewery, he or she is more than likely hoping to get a delicious growler full of draft beer. Today’s growlers come in all shapes, sizes and colors, and so do the laws governing the use of these big, refillable glass jugs from state to state. In California, a weird law requires a brewery to only fill a growler that it has sold and has its branding on it. In Oregon, noted for loose laws governing filling outside containers with beer, we’ve heard of mason jars and empty two-liters being drafted with cold craft beer.
Moving across the country, it looks like Florida will be tackling its unique growler laws this spring. Craft beer advocates are behind a bill (HB 715) that would allow brew pubs to sell 64-ounce growlers or containers. Apparently state law prohibits beer containers of more than 32 ounces, unless they are gallon size (128 ounces).
According to a great article on The Ledger (a Lakeland, Fla., newspaper): “It is reminiscent of a battle waged a dozen years ago by state Sen. Tom Lee, R-Brandon, and former State Rep. David Bitner, R-Port Charlotte, who finally got a bill passed that upended a 36-year-old law that restricted beer bottles to 8, 12, 16 and 32 ounces. You might wonder why that 1965 law was passed. It was aimed at handcuffing Miller Brewing, which at the time was selling a popular 7-ounce ‘pony’ bottle.”
Columnist Lloyd Dunkelberger continues: “The growler war will be fought by the craft beer lobbyists, who argue that allowing the popular half-gallon containers will help the young industry flourish in the state. They will face opposition from the beer distributors, who want to keep the current system, which is quite lucrative for them. The growler opponents will cloak their argument in health and safety concerns — likely finding allies in groups that see larger containers leading to more alcohol consumption.”
We’ll keep you updated on this and other growler battles around the nation.