Beer Guide: Beers to Go

Growler popularity grows with craft beer.



Roberto Gonzalez

Beer Guide
Beer Here: An Introduction
Beer Masters
Hop to It
What's on the Outside Counts
Beers to Go

There are a few legends about how the growler—a container used for takeout draft beer—got its name.

Some say it’s from the 1800s when people brought beer home from the bar in pails. The CO2 was said to have made a growling sound as it escaped the lid.

John Cheek, president of Orlando Brewing, says he heard it got its name from the sound the filled vessel made when the bartender slid it down the bar to the customer. He’s not sure he believes either tale but says growlers bring in a decent amount of business: an average of 15 fills daily.

A growler is a dark, glass jug that comes in gallon, half-gallon and quart sizes. Bottling and canning beer for distribution is an expensive undertaking so it’s the only way to enjoy some craft beers outside of the brewery.

“We have 35 different beers and only eight are bottled,” Cheek says.

Storm Dine, co-owner of Dead Lizard Brewing Company, says some people collect brewery growlers because of the decorative logos, especially tourists visiting Orlando.

“As the craft beer scene in Orlando grows, growlers become more popular,” she says.

Some ABC Fine Wine and Spirits locations, including the Alafaya Trail and Oviedo stores, have growler stations where people can fill growlers from craft beer kegs.

Cheek says the growlers that people are bringing in can be very ornate. Some are even pressurized to keep the beer fresh. He says a growler filled to the top and properly sealed can last until it’s opened but that the lifetime of the beer depends on conditions. If it’s kept cool and dark, it’ll stay fresh longer.

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