Blank & Branded Growlers at The Bruery Tasting Room

There has been a lot of discussion (and certainly a good amount of confusion) about CA growler laws lately. Though the law has not actually changed recently, there has been much more attention on it. You can read the whollllllle PDF about enforcing these rules & regulations here, but we’ve been through the research and come up with a solution that we think is a MUCH more interesting read. We’re ready to change our growler policy, and this blogpost explains how we will be doing that, based on frequently asked questions we’ve received so far.

We will fill 2-liter blank, Palla-style swing top growlers (the same style as the ones we currently fill), but that have no markings that can be associated with any other brewery. We’ll sell empty, blank growlers for $10, the same price as our own The Bruery™ branded growlers.

You can make our growler, or any other Palla-style growler into a blank growler that we’ll accept by removing the screen printing from the growler (instructions below). The pricing to fill a blank growler will be the same as the pricing to fill our own branded growler. Curent prices for growler fills can be found on the draft offerings lists in The Bruery Tasting Room.

Do you allow twist top growlers?
Sorry, we do not. There are several reasons, but the most important is we believe our growler is a great container for our beer. The Palla-style growler gives a great seal due to a thick gasket, has is made of thick, quality brown glass. It’s economical, and using just one growler style helps us ensure that every fill is as consistent as possible. Aesthetically speaking, we like how our growler looks and how it represents our brand. We want to provide the best experience once the beer leaves our door. Twist top growlers are also slightly smaller than our growler (64 oz. vs. 67.6), so we don’t want to short our customers. Thanks for understanding.

Why won’t you allow growlers from another brewery that are covered up?
We understand that the most recent interpretation of the law indicates this is a possibility. How our beer is packaged is important to us — we really care how our bottles look on store shelves, and we really care how a growler looks when you bring it home. Wrapping black film (or stickers, or candlewax, or however you want to cover up your growler) doesn’t present our beer in the way we’d like, can be easily removed, and potentially presents a labeling violation issue if the covering were to be removed prior to consuming the entire growler. We foresee customers bringing in growlers that need to be covered up, which will be time intensive. We also feel it is not respectful to cover up another brewery’s logo, and are concerned about potential hygiene issues (wet stickers, beer trapped under plastic wrap, etc.). Sorry in advance!

Why don’t you fill any size other than the 2-liter growlers?
At the Tasting Room, we have our pricing set for 2-liter sized growlers and do not currently have pricing set for different sizes. There are many different sized containers available, and using one growler type helps assure we are consistent with fills and pricing. Also, not all growlers are easily refillable by us (different opening at the mouth of the bottle, different height, different width, etc.), given the way our draft system is configured at the Tasting Room. We are fully capable of providing you the best quality fill with the least amount of beer loss when we fill the 2-liter swing top model as referenced above.

XYZ brewery [fills screwtop growlers, covers growlers, fills other sizes, etc.] why don’t you?
Every brewer has the opportunity to come up with their own standards on how they will treat other growlers, fill sizes, etc. We appreciate other breweries taking a wider stance on this issue, as they’ll likely take our blank growlers as well. We think that a $10 investment to your growler collection that can be reused (hopefully widely) is a good and reasonable solution.

Will you ever change these plans?
Perhaps… if the law changes or becomes more clear, we will continue to adapt our policy as well. Additionally, as the California craft beer culture continues to evolve, we expect to make slight revisions to this plan as we see fit.

So why do you do fill blank growlers while some other breweries do not?
While we don’t intend on speaking on behalf of fellow breweries, we do know that this has taken time and resources to make this happen. Since this law has only recently been interpreted in this way, not everyone has had a chance to catch up to the broader awareness regarding this CA growler policy. The process of switching over can be enduring, since it takes ordering more, different growlers, numerous internal meetings to decide on the best procedure, designing and printing new tags, making sure these tags are compliant with the beer name, ABV, brewery address, disclaimers, and more, and finally, getting these tags approved by the ABC.

How do I make my logo’ed Bruery growler (or another brewery’s growler in the same style) into a generic, 2-liter Palla-style growler?
First, soak your growler in hot water for 20 minutes. Then, dry and liberally apply acetone (nail polish remover), let stand for 5 minutes. Apply another round of acetone, and take a new straight edge razor blade, and scrape away the logo. Third and fourth rounds of acetone may be necessary, depending on the existing wear on the silk screening.

You can download and read this handy, printable Bruery Growler FAQ guide that explains our policy.

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