Over the years the craft beer industry has evolved quite considerably. In response to these changes, there are noticeable differences in the ways that beer is consumed. Nowadays, there is a greater demand for take-home beer. If you consider yourself to be an expert in craft beer, you are more than likely familiar with crowlers and growlers.
Both provide a way of transporting beer, however, many would suggest that crowlers are becoming more popular and therefore taking over and we have evaluated whether this is the case in our guide below.
What Is A Growler?
Before we delve into the reasons why crowlers are taking over, it is important to familiarize yourself with the definitions of both terms.
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Growler is a term given to a container made from glass, ceramic or stainless steel. They are typically bottle-shaped and can be filled as and when required. There are two sizes available.
The smaller option has a 32 ounce capacity, whilst the larger version has a 64 ounce capacity. Using a growler, you can transport your beer without having to worry about the quality of it degrading.
You can purchase a growler from a brewery where you will also be able to get it filled with the beer of your choice. A cap will then be secured to the top. More often than not, the brewery will have its logo printed on the exterior of the container.
What Is A Crowler?
Crowlers are a more recent introduction to the craft beer industry. The design of a crowler aims to resolve any issues associated with using a growler. A crowler is basically, a can version of a growler.
These cans usually have a 32 ounce capacity and are made from aluminum. The design of a crowler means that it can be opened in the same way as a normal beer can.
A crowler can be filled with your favorite tap beer and a machine is then used to seal the cap to it. Once it is locked, you can then take your beer home. Due to the concept of a crowler, once opened you will need to drink your beer in one sitting. This is because the can cannot be resealed.
Reasons Why Crowlers Are Taking Over
Now you may be curious as to why crowlers are believed to be taking over the craft beer industry. We have listed several reasons below.
Aluminum is more effective in retaining the freshness of the beer. Once it is filled a crowler can maintain the original quality for as long as a month permitting that it is stored properly.
The dark color of the aluminum creates a barrier against light and oxygen and this preserves the quality and taste of the beer that is contained inside it. It is important to ensure that your crowler is handled correctly and stored at the optimal temperature.
Growlers, on the other hand, are likely to keep your beer fresh for around three days. After this time, the quality of the beer is going to start to degrade. This is because, although the color of the glass is typically dark, it doesn’t quite match the tone of a crowler. Aside from this, the seal of a growler isn’t as tight as that of a crowler.
Whilst a machine is used to seal the cap of a crowler, the lid of a growler is simply attached and sometimes secured using tape. As such, the beer inside a growler is going to be exposed to more oxygen and UV light.
Another note in regards to the freshness is that crowlers are ultimately designed for single use. Once you have drunk the beer inside your crowler, you can recycle it. With a growler, the glass is opened and closed repeatedly until the contents are diminished. This speeds up the oxidation process.
Crowlers are often sought after as a more convenient way of transporting and storing beer. Perhaps the most obvious reason for this is because they do not have to be cleaned ahead of their next use.
Instead, they can be rinsed, recycled and you can pick up a new one once you arrive at the brewery. It is unlikely that you take your growler with you everywhere you go, so if you should forget it you are then faced with the costly expense of purchasing another.
A second benefit associated with the convenience of crowlers is that they dismiss the need for planning. If you happen to pass a brewery and decide that you want to stock up on some more beer, you don’t have to worry if you do not have your container to hand. Simply venture inside and purchase some more.
Furthermore, if you are attending an event where the consumption of alcohol is legal, I’m sure many would agree that a crowler is much more convenient in regards to transportation. This is because they save you the hassle of having to carry a possibly weighty container to your location and back again once it has finished.
As we have previously mentioned, the beer inside a crowler has a longer shelf life than beer that is kept inside a growler. Unopened, a crowler can keep your beer fresh for a considerable amount of time; an impressive 4 weeks.
If you want to consume your beer when it is in its best state, it is recommended that you drink it before the 4-week mark arrives. Of course, once your crowler is opened it cannot be resealed, but once a growler is opened the lid can be reattached.
However, the beer inside a growler has a shelf life of a couple of days, and the act of opening and closing the lid can affect the quality.
In some cases, you will find crowlers that use resealable technology. As implied, once you have drunk your desired amount, the crowler can then be resealed until you are ready to drink it again. It is worth noting that this isn’t the case with all types of cans.
The airtight seal is one of the standout features of a crowler. A machine is used to can the crowler and this keeps the carbonation inside it. The carbonation is what gives the beer the bubbles and fizz that it is known for. The strong seal ensures that the beer remains carbonated for the duration of time that it is transported and stored.
Whilst a growler will keep your beer carbonated, it will not do so as effectively and it will stay carbonated for a shorter amount of time.
Growlers are generally available in two sizes, although the larger 64-ounce option tends to be the most popular. Crowlers on the other hand, have a 32 ounce capacity. This equates to two full pints of beer.
Whilst the size that you require is going to be determined by your alcohol tolerance and how much you intend on drinking, it is likely that most people whilst find the contents of a 32-ounce crowler sufficient.
A growler offers more flexibility for those who want more beer as they come in larger varieties, although you could double up on the number of crowlers that you purchase if 62 ounces is desired. This way, you can enjoy your first one and there will be a fresh one waiting for you once you have finished. If you do not wish to drink it, you can take it back home with you.
For many, the cost is going to decide whether they opt for a crowler or a growler. The cost of filling either container is going to be pretty much the same if they are the same size, it is the cost of the container itself that is going to be different.
Crowlers provide a more cost-effective option because they tend to be made out of lower-quality materials. As they are intended for single-use, many breweries will often reflect this in the price at which they retail.
Also, when you purchase a crowler the amount that you pay will often cover the cost of the crowler and the beer.
However, the cost of growlers can vary. It will depend on the size of the container that you require and the material that it is constructed from. In the majority of cases, you will be charged for the growler and you will then need to pay an additional cost for it to be filled with your beer of choice.
You will need to clean your growler thoroughly before it is used again. Failing to do this may mean that there are some remnants of the previous beer left in the bottom, not only may this hinder the taste of your next fill, but it may also be a hindrance to clean conscience breweries.
Whilst it is recommended that you rinse your crowler before recycling it, as they are not going to be reused, this isn’t an issue that is going to arise.
As you can see, there are many reasons why crowlers are becoming more popular than growlers. This doesn’t mean that growlers are a write-off because they may still be the preferred option for some people.
If you are looking for a container that can be used repeatedly to transport and store your beer, you may choose to purchase a growler. If you are seeking convenience, freshness, and improved shelf life, a crowler is recommended.
There are benefits and drawbacks associated with each. Both make the task of transporting your beer significantly easier.