What exactly is a “growler,” and how did such a lovely jug get such a gruff name? While the origin of the term “growler” is the subject of much debate, the history of the growler is as clear as a hazy New England IPA.
Resourceful drinkers have been finding ways to cart beer home since that first ancient brewer discovered the magical effect of fermenting yeasts with grains. In the U.S, the earliest records of thirsty townspeople carrying beer home from their local watering hole in pails date back to the 1800s. Those early beer buckets were most often made from galvanized steel, and eventually, lids were added to prevent sloshing – for that carrier who was more than likely a little sloshed.
Over the years, the popularity of the growler has ebbed and flowed like a trusty tap. It was outlawed completely in some places during Prohibition, but by World War II, city kids made an industry out of “rushing the growler” to deliver covered beer containers to local workers (or desperate parents). The growler was replaced by the waxed cardboard container in the 50s and 60s, and with the invention of plastic, bars turned their backs on the growler again for cheaper, less breakable options.
The recent resurgence of the growler is attributed to Charlie and Ernie Otto, who opened their popular draft-only microbrewery in Wyoming in the late 1980s. The small shop wasn’t equipped for distribution, but the pair still wanted to offer their customers a way to enjoy their drafts at home. When Charlie stumbled upon his dad’s old tin beer pail in the attic, an idea formed. He gave the old container a modern-day renovation, trading the tin for glass and silk screening his brewery’s logo onto the sides of the glass jugs. And thus, the growler was reborn.
Today’s growlers are appealing for a variety of reasons. Both ecologically and economically friendly, growlers are filled right from the tap and topped with a twist-cap that seals in all that hoppy goodness, keeping it fresh for roughly 7-10 days unopened.
So how did this genius little beer-bearer get its name? That may be best debated over a cold glass or two. The term “growler” can be traced as far back as 1883 when those early beer lovers swung their tin buckets of beer all the way home. Rumour has it those pails made a grumbling noise as the CO2 came up through lid – and thus, the reason they’re called “growlers.”
Another theory suggests the term “growler” stems from the buckets of beer given to workers to prevent their stomachs from growling with hunger. Some even say that “growler” is meant to describe the grumpiness of someone who realised he had finished the entire container. Whichever theory you choose to believe, there’s no denying the growler is a great way to enjoy your beer at home, either after a visit to the bar or to replace your visit to the bar.
Walk and collect, and enjoy the exercise there and back, or collect in your car and we will put your growler(s) in your boot for you.
Next time you’re at Love Lane, take your growler, buy a growler online and fill ’em up and raise your glass to the brilliance of those bucket-toting beer lovers– and toast the glory of the growler.
Our next batch of Growlers will be Love Lane branded – we got the initial ones to get you up and running in this lockdown easing period with fresh, cold, Love Lane beer in an environmentally friendly vessel that is re-useable and delivers beer you love to your glass in your own home!
(Thanks to the Growler Guys of USA for the story – cheers!)