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Growlers Going Gangbusters

No, we’re not talking about bad tempered folk. Craft beer fans know all about growlers. They are containers, usually glass, that hold 32 or 64 ounces of beer that can be filled and refilled from a beer tap station and sealed with a screw cap.


As with everything concerning alcohol sales, the who, what, where, when, why of growler availability is confusing and differs by state and even by county. But more and more states are relaxing the rules regarding growlers.


If you are lucky enough to live in New York City or Brooklyn, you can fill your growler with locally brewed beer at Duane Reade, the drugstore chain. In some states, Whole Foods Market stores offer tap stations of certain craft beers for growler fills.


In parts of Oregon, Ohio and New York states, you can fill ‘er up with gas and beer at the same time. In New Hampshire, you can take “Greta the Growler Getta” a bus that visits three to four breweries in Portsmouth and Hampton. The cost of the bus ticket covers tastings at the breweries, snacks and even a stop at a rum distillery. If you buy a growler, they’ll keep it iced down while you sip between stops.


Some states allow only breweries to sell growlers but not refill them. Others don’t allow breweries to handle growlers at all. Others allow on premise sales only. Sometimes you can refill, sometimes you can’t. The states that are allowing off premise sales and refills are benefitting from increased employment and tax revenue. There are several web sites dedicated to news and events. One is The Growler at They cover news from Michigan, Minnesota, Wisconsin, the Dakotas and Iowa. You can go on line or if you prefer a print copy of the magazine, it available for $27.00 a year for six issues.