What’s better than draft beer? Draft beer at home. That’s what growlers do – allow people to take home draft beer from their favorite brewery. They come in different styles and sizes. Some have screw tops and some flip-tops. Each state has quirky laws when it comes to growlers. Some states it’s illegal to have a 64oz growler, certain states don’t allow growlers at all and some are awesome and allow you to fill up in bottle shops and grocery stores. I live in Virginia, a state somewhere between in the middle on growler leniency, and want to give a quick rundown on her growler laws.
In 2012, Senate Bill NO. 604 gave breweries the ability to sell beer “on-premise” (this word is important). Previously they were not able to sell their own beer unless they had a restaurant attached to it (aka brewpub). Before SB 604 they were only allowed to give free samples and sell bottled/canned beer for “off-premise” consumption. With the passing of SB 604, breweries can sell by the glass.
Why is that important? According to a Richmond.com article, growlers are considered glasses and it’s legal to bring your own glassware to a brewery (should I start doing that??? No more frozen false pint glasses…). Anything served in a glass is an on-premise sale. That’s where SB 604 comes in. Since a growler is a glass, it’s an on-premise sale therefore a brewery can now sell growlers.
A retailer, for example a grocery store like Whole Foods, can also sell growlers. However they need to have “on-premise” and “off-premise” licenses, which are harder to obtain. Depending on your local Whole Foods, they may have a wide variety of beers you can fill your growler with.
I long for the day when I can walk into my local grocery store and get a $10 growler of Duck-Rabbit Milk Stout. But at least I can drive over to Lost Rhino and pickup some New River Pale Ale.