DOVER, Del.- More chugs from jugs - Delaware is looking at making it easier to get growlers full of beer. A new proposal would allow the state's liquor stores to fill and sell the 64-ounce jugs. It's a plan designed to boost Delaware's craft brewing industry.
The idea of a growler is simple. It's draught beer to go. Right now, you can get them at first state breweries and brew pubs. Retail liquor stores could be next.
Jim Lutz, president of Dover-based Fordham and Old Dominion Brewery, says while most of his beers come in bottle form, not all do.
"There are certain beers that are only available in draught," he said. "For a consumer to be able to enjoy that product, he either has to go to a bar or buy a half-barrel. So, there's a market out there for getting some of our product to consumers in some other fashion than a 15.5 gallon, half barrel."
It's that market the state's nine craft breweries are hoping to tap into.
Milton's Dogfish Head* is Delaware's largest brewery.
"It will get it out to more consumers," said Jesse Prall, brewing Supervisor at Dogfish Head. "A lot of people frequent their local outlet, liquor store. They'll be able to grab it 64 ounces at a time.
The brewers do have some potential concerns about the growler system may work at liquor stores. They want the growlers filled when the customer comes in and not pre-filled and sitting on a shelf. They say it would compromise the quality of the product.
Lutz explains beer is like milk, not red wine.
"The closer you consume it to the day it was packaged, the better the beer is going to be."
But provided the growlers are filled fresh, Lutz can't wait to see them available at the stores.
"I think allowing these retailers to pour some of these beers that aren't normally available in bottles at and get them to the consumer to expose them to great locally-brewed beer is a win-win."
If the bill goes through, you couldn't necessarily fill up a growler at every liquor store. Ones that wanted to have the option would have buy a $150 permit every two years.
The bill's sponsor says the proposal is also about helping Delaware compete with neighboring states. It's not legal in Virginia or Maryland to fill them at stores. However, Pennsylvania and New Jersey do both allow it.
*Dogfish Head is owned by a close relative of the owner of WBOC.
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