A growler (US) (//) is a glass, ceramic, or stainless steel bottle (or jug) used to transport draft beer. They are commonly sold at breweries and brewpubs as a means to sell take-out craft beer. Rarely, beers are bottled in growlers for retail sale. The significant growth of craft breweries and the growing popularity of home brewing has also led to an emerging market for the sale of collectible growlers. Some U.S. grocery stores, convenience stores, bars and restaurants have growler filling stations.
A crowler (portmanteau of "canned growler") is a fillable and machine-sealable beer can. The selected beer is poured into the can body and then a pop-top is sealed over it at a canning station. It isn't reusable like a growler bottle, but is easier to transport. The major limitation is that they can only be about a quart (32 oz. [946-ml] or 40 imp oz [1136-ml]) or litre (33.8 oz or 35.2 imp oz) in size.
Growlers are generally made of glass and have either a screw-on cap or a hinged porcelain gasket cap, which can maintain freshness for a week or more. A properly sealed growler will hold carbonation indefinitely and store beer like any other sanitized bottle. Some growler caps are equipped with valves to allow replacement of carbon dioxide lost while racking. The modern glass growler was first introduced by Charlie and Ernie Otto of Otto Brothers' Brewing Company in Wilson, Wyoming, in 1989.
The two most popular colors for growlers are amber (a brownish hue) or clear (often called "flint"). Clear growlers are often 25% to 35% more per unit than their amber counterparts. Glass handles are the most common type of handle for growlers, although metal handles, with more ornate designs, can also be found. Some growlers do not have handles; this is especially common with growlers smaller than 64 U.S. fl oz that have Grolsch-style flip-tops.
Growlers can be refilled for between $5 and $30 in the United States. Their initial purchase can carry a significant (sometimes non-compulsory) deposit.
While 64 U.S. fl oz (1,892.7 ml; 66.6 imp fl oz) is the most popular growler size, growlers are commonly found in 32 U.S. fl oz (1 US Quart, sometimes known as a "howler", which may be short for "half growler"), 128 U.S. fl oz (1 US Gallon), 1-liter (33.8 U.S. fl oz; 35.2 imp fl oz), and 2-litre sizes as well.
The term likely dates from the late 19th century when fresh beer was carried from the local pub to one's home by means of a small galvanized pail. It is claimed the sound that the carbon dioxide made when it escaped from the lid as the beer sloshed around sounded like a growl.