You may (or may not) have seen ads or noticed people talking about crowlers. But, what exactly is a crowler and why is it so cool?
First, let's explain the name. Growler + Can = Crowler. Simple.
A growler is a 64oz glass jug used to carry beer away from breweries. It's so popular in the craft beer business because breweries can brew a lot of beer, but small breweries can't bottle everything - bottling is expensive - or they may not even have a bottling line at all. If they don't have a bottling line, they will try to distribute kegs to bars and restaurants, but that is a very competitive space. So, the breweries sell lots of beer themselves in their taprooms. The growler lets these customers bring that beer home. Customers buy the growler and when it's empty, wash and then reuse again and again.
The crowler is the growler, but in an aluminum can form. Breweries buy cans and can tops (separated at this point). You pick the beer and they fill the can (typically 32oz) and top it off. You get to bring home a 32oz can of beer!
There are 3 main advantages to a crowler over a growler.
It's disposable. You don't have to buy or pay a deposit on anything. Just fill the can, bring it home, enjoy, recycle. A growler you have to keep clean and remember to bring it to the brewery (no impromptu fills!) when you want it.
The crowlers are 32oz. While some growlers are being sold in 1L or 32oz sizes, the majority are 64oz. That's a lot of beer. You really need someone else to split that with. Just go ahead and drink 64oz. of an 8% beer and tell me what happens. 32oz is a great amount for one person to finish in a night.
You can drink right out of the crowler (great on buses, hint hint). With a growler, you must have some sort of glassware or plastic cup.
We schedule both our public tours with breweries that offer crowlers as our first stop. Customers love to sample a beer flight, then grab a crowler of their favorite to keep them quenched during the ride to the next brewery. Or, take it home and enjoy it with dinner later that night. Crowlers are awesome and definitely here to stay in the craft beer scene.