Growler Types — The Basics

Growler offerings have expanded quite a bit in recent years, so it's worth considering all the different types of growlers available on the market.

By Kinnek Knowledge Team  |  June 09, 2018

If you’re running a brewery, then you may want to serve customers in “take away” jugs known as growlers.  As the craft brew industry expands, more and more customers have been demanding straight-from-the-source options for purchasing craft beers.  Growlers can give your business an opportunity to sell beer to interested customers without having to invest into additional equipment for can filling and packaging.

Growlers are essentially large jugs, sealed at the top for freshness.  These jugs were traditionally used to carry beer from the pub home, before the widespread use of cans in the beer industry.  Vendors offer a variety of different growler sizes, from 12oz. all the way up to 128oz., but as a general rule, most standard growlers come in the 64oz. size.

Today, growlers have become increasingly popular, in part because of the “nostalgia factor,” and in part because they make for a simple, customer-friendly way to serve beer directly from the batch itself.  Growlers also tend to keep beer fresher for longer.  If you distribute beer to your non-commercial customers in growlers, you can be sure that they will remember your brand later!  The whole experience can make your craft beer brand seem somewhat premium and exclusive.

Glass Growlers

Glass growlers are fairly common in the brewery scene, and they have a “classic” look that is particularly appealing to some customers.  Glass growlers tend to be cheaper than growlers made of other materials, except perhaps for PET plastic growlers.  Importantly, glass growlers can be split into two subcategories: clear and amber.  Clear glass growlers are a great branding tool (they look very high-end) but they aren’t great for long-term storage, as exposure to heat/light can cause the beer to lose its normal flavor profile and aroma.  By contrast, amber glass growlers prevent a lot of heat/light from penetrating the growler and negatively influencing the beer within.

All glass growlers are especially vulnerable to chipping and breakage, so make sure to handle these growlers with care!

Ceramic Growlers

Ceramic growlers are among the most expensive type of growlers.  Though they are somewhat fragile (like glass growlers), they are slightly more resistant to chipping and breakage, and as such, may be a better choice if you’re considered about losses due to mishandling.  Ceramic growlers keep out heat/light, and are beautifully presented — some vendors offer premium designs, too, so if you’re looking for a unique branding advantage, you may want to choose ceramic growlers.

Stainless Steel Growlers

Stainless steel growlers are the most expensive, and are extremely sturdy — they are also resistant to chipping, scratches, rust, breakage, and more.  So long as you take proper care of your stainless steel growlers, they’ll last for decades.  It’s worth noting, however, that in the context of distributing these growlers to customers at a brewery, it may not be worth using such an expensive growler type (most customers will be unwilling to spend the extra amount necessary to subsidize the cost).

PET Plastic Growlers

PET plastic growlers are among the cheapest type of growler, but unlike glass, they are resistant to chipping and breakage, and they prevent heat/light from entering, which can ensure a longer shelf life for the beer within.  In many ways, PET plastic growlers are outright superior to glass growlers, but it’s worth considering that the design and general “look” of PET plastic growlers is not generally as appealing to customers as glass growlers, so if you’re interested in purchasing cheaper growlers for distribution, you may want to go with glass growlers instead.

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