How to: Blank Growlers in 3 Easy Steps

Somewhat DIY: Glass Blank Growlers

Anytime we take our 32oz glass “blank” growlers to a brewery for a fill — whether it’s an employee or fellow craft beer enthusiast — there’s always somebody who wants to know where we got the re-fillable containers. We wanted to share that simple process to obtain them here, along with some clarification on California laws, and brewery policies. You can also skip that discussion, and get right to the steps.

CA Growler Laws and Brewery Policies

Until late 2013, California breweries were prohibited from filling any growler unless it displayed their own permanent markings, branding, or logo. After AB 647 was passed, breweries were allowed to fill outside containers, provided the other brewery’s branding on said growler was covered. Inherently, “blank” or plain containers were now accepted.

An important thing to note is that breweries are NOT REQUIRED to fill your covered/obscured/blank containers, Hydroflask, or triple-walled-vacuum-sealed-platinum-plated growler you funded on Kickstarter. AB 647 only makes it legal for breweries to accept 3rd party growlers.

What containers breweries choose to fill is up to them, and they have made their own policies going forward. For example, there are still some establishments that only accept their own branding, or allow specific container styles like Palla swing tops (genie bottle), or stainless steel.

If your local brewery will accept glass screw-top growlers — the easiest solution — without the need for any further taping, stickers, koozies, socks, or acetone and scraping  — is a blank growler. Here’s how to get your own plain quart sized growler, and have it re-filled in a few easy steps:

3 Easy Steps

  • Step One: Buy Saranac Beer

    Saranac Brewery makes some okay beer, and two of their special releases, Legacy IPA and Pumpkin Ale, are bottled in 32oz containers. Those releases can always be found at Bevmo, and we have even spotted them at Trader Joe’s. We were thinking about titling this post “Free 32oz Growler”, which seemed a little click-baitish, but if you look at their price points you’re getting a filled growler for $4-5, when they usually sell for $5-7 at a brewery, empty.

  • Step Two: Remove the Label

    After you finish off the Saranac jug, and we would recommend the Pumpkin, since it’s one of their better offerings, go grab a sharp blade or utility knife. Depending on consumption levels, you may want to wait until the following day for safer cutting. Simply score a gentle line into the growler’s plastic shrink-wrapped label, which should now peel right off.

  • Step Three: Get a Refill

    Don’t forget to rinse the growler out! Take it to any local craft brewery that accepts glass screw-top blank beer growlers, and get a fill of a tasty favorite. Like we did here, with some AleSmith San Diego Pale Ale .394 and Speedway Stout. You don’t need to worry about caps — standard 64oz glass screw-top caps at the brewery will fit these quart growlers. Cheers!

Hopefully that was simple enough for you? Spend $3-4 dollars for a beer, and get a lifetime of effortless growler fills at your favorite breweries. These 32oz blank growlers, mini-growlers, grumblers, or whatever other name they get called across the country, are also great for variety. Get two of these filled with different beers, instead of 64oz of one kind.

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