Once, our staff was asked this question by a young man from New Zealand. When we showed him a 64 ounce (half gallon) glass jug, he chuckled and told us that the term growler means something different where he comes from. You’ll just have to look that one up for yourself. If you are interested in learning a little history about the BEER growler, read on.
The way “growler” got its name goes back over a hundred years. In the late 1800’s, early 1900’s beer was taken from the local pub to the home in a galvanized metal pail with a lid. On the walk home, the beer would slosh around and release carbon dioxide, creating a rumbling or growling noise. Bam! The growler is born.
Over time the growler changed, but not immediately into the jug we see today. In the 50’s and 60’s, growlers were waxed cardboard containers similar to Chinese soup take-out containers. These containers were necessary because all liquor stores were not open on Sundays, so if you wanted some fresh beer you would have to get it the day before.
The modern growler was born in 1989. Charlie Otto and his father ran a brewery that was unable to bottle but wanted to offer a take-home option to their customers. His father remembered the growlers of his day, which were long outdated. Charlie redesigned the growler to be a half gallon glass jug that resembled a moonshine jug. With a silk-screen kit he put his brewery’s label on the jug. The glass jug design has stuck to this day.
The growler continues to evolve with modern society with double-jacketed stainless steel growlers, quart growlers, or one gallon growlers. The hinge-top, metal handled, 2 liter, jugs you might see are a German style. The twist-top half gallon glass jugs remain the American tradition, and that is exactly what you will find at Renegade.
If you are in our taproom and decide you need a Renegade growler, we have them for sale. If you already have your own growler, bring it in! We fill any clean growler you give us. Note the word CLEAN. We respect our beer too much to put it in a stinky growler, and we think you shouldn’t be so lazy to fail to clean yours.
So whether in the New Zealand sense (did you look it up yet?) or in the Renegade way, please take good care of your growler. Especially if you want someone to fill it.