I guess you could consider us bi-city, splitting our time between Duluth and St. Paul. I believe that this gives us a unique perspective on the variances between these two craft beer markets. A glaring difference we’ve noticed is the reluctance from brew pubs and taprooms in The Twin Cities to fill legally compliant personal growlers. Now we’ve written on this subject in the past see “Pain in the Glass”, which outlines the benefits and ecology of reusing personal growlers. To be fair, this is not meant as a blanket statement, as The Twin Cities does have a handful of more progressive venues that do so. Tin Whiskers, Barley John’s, are tuned into this trend to eliminate waste, while four out of eleven craft beer outlets in St. Paul still do not. In contrast eight out of nine in the Twin Ports do honor this trend, with Bent Paddle changing their policy when new taproom comes online. Therefore, soon it will be all breweries.
On the other hand, in The Twin Ports, the vast majority of craft beer venues DO indeed fill our growlers. Could it be that those of us here in the North Country care more about the environment? We’d like to think that perhaps our persistent lobbying may have something to do with it. But through questioning staff from venues who refuse this more convenient and Eco-friendly policy, I believe it boils down to one thing... hubris. The go-to explanation is almost always “We need to control the quality of our product all while judgingly inhaling the air of my vessel .” As if putting their beer in our clean stainless steel double walled legally compliant Stanley growler is somehow going to denigrate the awesomeness of their cerveza. We feel this explanation is disingenuous, as most growlers on the market actually do a better job of protecting the quality of their contents than does glass. Personally, I feel the truth has more to do with the need to display “Their” logo on “Their” growler, and basking in the satisfaction that this is “Their” product. Now as a marketing professional, I get that. It’s about being seen and displaying their brand. However, the branding advantages fall far short in the argument of freshness, sustainability and convenience.
If you own a personal growler, chances are you’d like to utilize it. Fortunately, more and more breweries are adopting this more sensible policy. See below a list of breweries that see the value in this practice. If you come across a brewery that does not comply, we suggest you question their policy and explain to them the benefits of personal growler filling.