Beer Growlers are Not Drunken Dogs
<<Possible Origins of the Name Growler>>
Contrary to the name, beer growlers are not angry, growling, beer-sotted dogs. Growler is the name for a one-half gallon, moonshine-looking jug that is filled with beer at a brewery and taken off premises for consumption. The origin of the word growler is not clear, but use began in the 19th century. One plausible explanation comes from Harper’s Magazine, July 1892, “In New York a can brought in filled with beer at a bar-room is called a growler, and the act of sending this can from the private house to the public-house and back is called working the growler.” Some sources say it was called, “rushing the growler.” Children were sent out to the tavern with a growler at night, after the father got home from work, to haul beer (in a rush) back to him. At that time a bucket, sometimes with a lid, was the actual “growler”.
Growler may come from the noise the metal pail made as it slid down the bar counter. Some speculate it refers to the person’s disposition that just finished off a full pail of beer. Either way, with the realization that patrons who left with their beer, drank less than those who stayed, saloon owners put a stop to the practice and the growler fell by the wayside.
The Comeback of the Growler
Today, beer growlers are back in vogue and the crowd filling them is often a sophisticated, urban crowd, sometimes with children at home. They can’t, or don’t have the time to hang out at a brew pub, but do have discriminating taste in beer. They order growlers filled with their favorite microbrew and enjoy a glass to two in the evening at home. Some beer lovers fill up multiple growlers with different microbrews and tote them home for parties. Most breweries will fill your glass growler under CO2 pressure so no matter when you open the jug, the beer will taste just like it came right from the tap, even after weeks of being stored in a refrigerator.
In our region, east of Seattle, microbreweries abound and homemade beer is a hobby for everyone from Google and Microsoft techies to executives to homemakers. There’s a growing market for growler containers as more home brewers make their own beer. When I stopped by to check out growler containers at the local brewing supplies store, Mountain Homebrew & Wine Supply, I was surprised to see the store busy at 6 p.m. on a week night. I expected to find more of the flannel and Birkenstock crowd, but among the shoppers were a couple of twenty-somethings, three business men in ties, and a woman dressed in business casual. This beer supply store offers several styles and sizes of growlers in clear and colored glass. They sell a clear 1 gallon growler for $5.99 and a one-half gallon amber growler for the same price. Previously I had found a 64 oz. amber growler at an unlikely source, the local hobby and crafts store. As soon as anything hits the shelves at this busy store I know it’s trending.
Growler Label Sizes to Make Your Own Label
We recently added growler labels to the product line-up at BottleYourBrand. For homebrewers wanting to name their beer or give a growler as as gift, these labels are the perfect solution. A number of good looking, pre-designed templates for growlers are available in the 4 inch high x 6 inch wide label size. On these templates the artwork is already done for you, all you have to do is edit the text. If you’re of a more independent or creative bent, on the Make Your Own pages of our website, under Custom Labels>Custom Growler Labels, you can start from scratch to make your own custom growler labels. These sizes are available: 4 inches square, 5 inches square and 4 inches high x 6 inches wide rectangle.
All of the growler labels are waterproof and color fast. The backing is self-adhesive, protected by a crack and peel backing. These labels can withstand gentle washing with dish soap should you need to wash and refill the Growler. We haven’t tested how many hand washings the labels can withstand so if any of you have used your bottles or growlers more than a few times please give us some feedback. I have washed glass beer bottles in the diswasher with our beer labels on them and had good luck as long as the drying cycle was not on high heat. Some dishwasher soaps will leave a residue on the label which I removed with a damp, soft cloth.
If you have questions about making your own growler label email us at [email protected]. We’re always happy to help.