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A Brewmaster’s Guide to Growlers

As a recovering American lit major, I am delighted by the rising popularity of the beer growler. These humble vessels for transporting draft beer make me feel like I’ve stepped into the pages of a gritty Bowery novel from the 1890s.

But beyond the quaintness factor, what’s the big deal about beer growlers? I asked Brewmaster Dave Ohmer of Whole Foods Market® Brewing Company at our Post Oak store in Houston, Texas. With more than 13 years of experience in the craft brewing industry, Dave was quick to point out that many small breweries only offer beers on tap.

“Growlers really open up the possibilities of what kind of beer you can have in your fridge. There’s also the recyclability factor — refillable growlers are a low-waste solution. And buying in larger quantity can sometimes save you money,” he said.

 Feeling pretty excited about the opportunity to drink my favorite craft beer at home, I asked Dave for some growler guidance. Here’s what he shared:

  1. Make sure your growler is filled within about an inch of the top. If there’s too much room in the bottle, your beer will be more likely to lose carbonation.
  2. Do your best to keep it cold. Bring it home and put in the fridge as soon as possible. Once refrigerated, the beer can be stored unopened for 10 to 14 days.
  3. Drink it the day you open it or, at the very most, the next day. If it’s a big growler, Dave says, “Call a friend.”
  4. Invest in different sizes. Small and medium-size growlers allow you to buy just as much as you can finish before it goes stale.
  5. Rinse with hot water and leave your growler open to dry out. There’s no need for soap, but it is a good idea to rinse right after you enjoy the last drop.

More than 100 Whole Foods Market stores now feature in-store bars. If your local store is one of them, you be able to bring home a growler with your groceries. Ask a team member in the bar or beer department* to help you get started.

*Some of our stores are prohibited by local law from selling beer. Here’s a list of stores that don’t sell alcohol. You can always reach out and check with your local store.

Have you purchased beer by the growler yet? Let us know how you liked it.