G is for Growler
G is for Growler – part 7 of our A to Z guide to craft beer terms.
At first glance, you might think growlers look a bit like something an American hillbilly would use to hold moonshine. Nope! Those containers were traditionally made from clay, although I suppose glass mason jars were sometimes used as well . . . but I digress.
These clear containers, normally amber glass and sometimes lavishly decorated, are used to hold craft beer. I say craft because you’re not likely to pop down to SAB Miller or Anheuser-Busch in order to fill one up.
With the explosion of craft beer in the United States, growlers introduced a way for patrons of brew pubs and microbreweries to take their favourite draft home with them. They’re made with either a screw on top or a hinged gasket top that holds in carbonation. If a growler is filled from the tap, it can keep the beer fresh for up to a week and sometimes longer. They can also be used as a bottle – filled at the brewery, sealed and sold at bottle stores or restaurants.
While these beer containers have been around since the late 1980’s, with the first modern example being introduced by Wyoming’s Otto Brother’s Brewing Company, it has really been in the last 10 years that they’ve seen mainstream popularity.
But what’s with the name?
Like most beer legends, this one is still up for debate . . . but there could be some truth to it. In the late 1800’s, if you wanted beer at home, the only place to get it was the pub. So you’d grab your small, galvanised pail, pop down to your local establishment, filled it up and walk it home. As the beer sloshed around while you walked, the C02 escaping from the lid was said to make a growling sound. And so the first growlers were born.
Will we ever enjoy “draft to go” in South Africa? The industry is busy catching most US trends, so the chances are pretty good.
Would you like to see Devil’s Peak available in growlers?