The Growth of The Growler and it’s Impact on Jacksonville’s Brewery Scene

Writer: Michael Bicek

DSC_0266Jacksonville is quickly becoming well known for its many burgeoning breweries. Veterans United, Bold City and Intuition Ale Works make up only some of the craft beer choices one can find in and around the city. The growler–a method for transporting beer and keeping it fresh–along with new laws, are now giving customers the option to take a full 64 ounces of their favorite draft home with them.

“With the growler, you’re going to seek out good beer, you’re going to the local breweries and getting something freshly tapped,” said Kevin Burns, owner and general manager of Beer:30 in San Marco.

64-ounce growlers haven’t always been legal in the state of Florida. Effective July 2015, new legislature signed by Governor Rick Scott has given brewers, brewpubs, bars and retail growler stations the ability to sell the larger containers. The Institute of Justice called the ban one of “12 regulations that arbitrarily and senselessly violate Florida entrepreneurs’ right to earn an honest living.

The ban was a way for the state to originally curb excess drinking, but it allowed the sale of two 32-ounce growlers, which didn’t make a whole lot of sense to brewers. Florida currently boasts over one hundred breweries in the state, having the tenth most in the United States, and that number continues to grow. Without the use of growlers, significant expansion would be much more difficult.

Some beer drinkers prefer their draught straight from the tap–bottles and cans just aren’t the same. The growler allows the consumer to take beer home with them and share with others, further growing brewers’ reputations.

“I’ve always had that type of personality, that when I liked something, I wanted to take it home and share it with friends,” said Burns. Like many other consumers who want to share that next delicious brew they’ve discovered, the growler gives anyone DSC_0271that ability.

Breweries and retail growler stations such as Beer:30 are also becoming premiere destinations for beer enthusiasts to enjoy a quick brew and growler fill-up, replacing the smoky, loud and sometimes crowded traditional bar scene that most are used to. The standard crowd at Beer:30 will often have a pint or two before they decide on what to fill their growler with. Glass growlers that are sealed properly have a long shelf life, similar to other properly bottled things. With an ever-changing draft list, Beer:30 likes to give people multiple options when filling.

The growler will only keep growing in popularity. With an abundance of great beer in Jacksonville yet to be discovered, the growler puts that ability into the consumer’s hands. If you own a glass growler, just be sure not to drop it.

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