Growlers coming of age

In the late 1800’s and early 1900’s, fresh beer was carried from the local pub to one’s home by means of a small galvanized pail. Rumor has it that when the beer sloshed around the pail, it created a rumbling sound as the CO2 escaped through the lid, thus the term “Growler” was coined.

In 1989, Charlie Otto and his father were discussing the dilemma facing the Otto Brothers Brewery. They wanted to offer beer-to-go for their local customers, but they were not yet in a position to bottle. Father Otto suggested the growlers which were used in his younger days, but Charlie recognized the need for an updated package. He purchased a small silkscreen machine, and set it up on his patio. Soon he was silk-screening his logo on half-gallon glass bottles that resembled moonshine jugs, and the modern “growler” was introduced.

With a growler, one would get 5.33 12-ounce bottles of beer. Certainly enough for one or two people to amply sample a beer style. In most cases, the growler can be returned to the brewery of purchase for a refill.

For some additional reading, LifeHacker has a nice article on the new popularity of the growler as well as the NY Times.

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