Growlers and Virginia

Growler

Pickup a growler at just about any brewery in Virginia

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.

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2 thoughts on “Growlers and Virginia

  1. Somewhat surprisingly Ohio seems ahead of the curve on growler laws. We can get fills of 32 or 64 at breweries, many stores, and some restaurants. The only catch is that restaurants can only fill their own branded growlers.

    • So you have to bring Joe’s Restaurant growler to Joe’s? Can you get it filled with anything on tap?

      Thankfully you can bring whatever growler you want to most places that fill in VA. They tape a label around it usually with a description of their beer.

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