Growler History

What is a Growler?

People have only been guzzling down copious amounts of beer from bottles since the 1550’s and from aluminum cans since 1935. Before six packs were around, beer was mainly stored and carried in large vessels for transportation. In the late 19th century and early 20th century, people would go to their local pub and fill up a small galvanized pail with fresh beer so that they could enjoy it at home with their friends and family. It’s rumored that the growling sound that was emitted from the carbonation escaping from the lid when the seal was broken, and that is what gave the container famous name!


“Rushing the growler” was a tradition in which kids, as young boys and girls, would fill up growlers at local bars and deliver them to workers during their lunch break. Parents even volunteered their own children to “rush the growler” so that they could have fresh beer after their long day of work. However, once Prohibition became in full swing, laws that forbid minors from buying beer were heavily enforced. Laws that required liquor stores to close on Sundays also became more enforced by local authorities. This led to the creation of a “duck,” which was a closed metal flask-like growler that could hook onto the inside underarm of an overcoat without being detected.

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In the 1950’s and 1960’s, waxed cardboard take-out containers were used instead of galvanized pails. Since it was illegal to buy alcohol at liquor stores on Sundays in many U.S. states, these containers allowed people to discreetly take home beer from their local bars. However, by the late 1960’s, many states passed laws that allowed liquor stores to sell alcohol on Sundays and the cardboard growlers lost popularity.

Growlers didn’t become popular again until the late 1980’s. A microbrewery in Wyoming, the first of the modern day, The Otto Brothers, designed a new glass growler. Charlie Otto told his father that he wanted to find a way for local customers to have the option to take home their beer. His father reminisced about the growlers he saw during his childhood and the idea was born. Charlie bought a small Atlas silk screener machine and began silk screening the brewery’s logo onto 64 ounce glass jugs.

In recent years, the need for growlers has soared with the popularization of microbreweries and craft breweries. Many different styles of growlers now exist, which is something that appeals to both beer aficionados and novelty collectors.


Growlers are Eco-friendly

Growlers are a great eco-friendly and cost effective alternative that allows beer enthusiasts to reduce and re-use. The Beer Institute’s Brewer’s Almanac estimated that Americans drank about 21.1 gallons of beer in 2009, which roughly translates to 225 cans or bottles of beer per person. If 1,000 people chose to only drink beer straight from the tap, 225,000 cans or bottles could be saved from entering a landfill or recycling plant!

Growlers are also better for your health and the environment than drinking beer from aluminum cans. In order to prevent aluminum from leaching into beer, the insides of aluminum cans are coated with a thin layer of epoxy resin. This epoxy resin often contains the toxic compound, Bisphenol A (BPA). Based on various animal lab tests, the Environmental Working Group has hypothesized that BPA can cause cancer, infertility, miscarriages, polycystic ovarian disease, and insulin resistance. The plastic 6-pack rings that neatly package aluminum cans are also very dangerous for sea creatures and wildlife if they aren’t properly cut and recycled.

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High Quality Artisan Growlers Can Help Save You Money

When you buy a handcrafted artisan growler, you’re not only buying a container to put beer in, you’re also buying a piece of art that can be appreciated and re-used for many, many years. The best types of growlers to buy are made out of glass or ceramic. Many breweries offer cheap glass growlers that have metal screw-on lids. These metal lids often rust after just one use and cause the beer to go flat in a matter of days. It is much better to invest in a well-made growler, which has a ceramic flip top lid that clamps down securely, to keep beer fresh and rust free.

Depending on the brewery or pub, you could save several dollars off the price of buying the same amount of beer in pre-packaged bottles or cans. The growler will basically pay for itself after just a couple of re-fills. *

Growlers are also great to use for any beverage. Store distilled water, soda pop, juice, iced tea, etc. in your fridge for every day use or use for special occasions to impress your family and friends.

*Research your local beer and liquor laws.