Beer is served from vessels of all shapes and sizes. There’s the standard 12 ounce can or bottle, the keg, and of course the classy and timeless Forty. Each container serves its purpose, whether it be enjoying a cold one while manning the grill or slugging malt liquor at a Débutante Ball, and the growler is no exception. Generally speaking, growlers are used by beer lovers to take home samples from their favorite breweries and brewpubs. Most growlers have a capacity of half a gallon and are filled directly from the tap.
Filling a growler
So what is the origin of this mysterious vessel that looks remarkably like an old timey moonshine jug? Legend has it that in days of yore, patrons who had not drunk their fill at the pub would carry home pails of beer for the after party. Along the way, CO2 escaping from the lid would make a growling sound, hence the name.
Old timey moonshine jug
The modern day growler is said to have originated in 1989 when brewer Charlie Otto wanted to offer beer-to-go from his Otto Brothers Brewery. The Otto family patriarch suggested the use of growlers that he remember from yesteryear. The younger Otto took that suggestion and ran with it using half gallon glass jugs and giving rise to the growlers we know today.
Most growlers have either a screw cap or ceramic flip top. Experience has shown us that those with a flip top will keep beer fresh for longer but, in general, a growler filled at a brewpub will keep beer ready to drink for up to a week.
Flip top growler Screw cap growler