Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Portland Growler Prices

A couple weeks ago I was grousing about the high price to get beer growlers filled in Portland. With that in mind, I give you the Portland Growler Price Map, which lists the growler price at pubs around Portland, as well as the Six-Pack Equivalent price:

View Larger Map

Click on the individual thumbtacks on the map, to get details for that location. A lot of the information on this map was stolen from the Champagne of Blogs' growler index, augmented with a few things I investigated on my own.

You Can Help

A lot of the prices on the map were a year or more out of date on Day One. And many worthy establishments are not yet listed. I'll volunteer to keep this updated for the Portland metro area (say, a 20 mile radius), but I need all of you to send me current information. Use the email address in the sidebar: for each pub that you want to update me about, please send the following data:
  • Price to fill 64 ounce growler.
  • Price to buy the growler itself (if available).
  • Whether they'll fill competitor growlers.
  • Whether they'll fill 2-quart mason jars.
  • The date of your information.

They Should be Cheaper!

About those prices. My feeling is that it's silly to have to pay a premium for something that doesn't have to be packaged, distributed, and retailed. Commenters on the Growler Math post pointed out that pubs have a different business model than beer bottlers, and that economies of scale apply.

Nevertheless, beer drinkers spend some of their money in pubs, and some money on bottled beer -- let's leave our brave homebrewers out of the equation for now. Wouldn't brewpubs like to take away some of that bottled beer market? They should be able to do so if they can offer a growler price that corresponds roughly to the price of a good 6-pack.

Given the price of a 64-ounce growler, multiply it by 1.125 to get the price of 72 ounces of beer, so that you can compare the price with that of a 6-pack. So a $12 growler is like a $13.50 six-pack -- ouch! Canadian prices! On the other hand, an $8 growler is like a $9 six-pack -- not cheap, but increasingly common. I would divert a lot of my 6-pack budget to growlers if the price at places I frequent was $8 or less.

I've just been talking about the dollars-and-cents of beer growlers, but there's also the environmental aspect of reusing the beer container, and cutting down on some of the transportation and refrigeration. Beer writer Stan Hieronymous recently blogged about New Belgium Brewing's report on their carbon footprint. Stan clipped a graphic from the report that shows that 60% of the footprint is from packaging (glass and paper), distribution, and retailing. So you've cut more than half of your environmental impact from your beer drinking if you fill up locally!


  1. Can you check the Amnesia price?
    I think they charge $13 (yikes!!) to fill a growler now.

    BTW, I love this idea. Great job.

  2. NIce post Bill.
    I sure will be using this information!

  3. Great feature.

    Something I noted the other day -- the retail Rogue Dead Guy growlers are usually only about $12-13, which includes the glass growler!

    Not a bad deal, considering the usually high 22oz price for Dead Guy.

  4. Thanks for the feedback, guys.

    Patrick, my idea was that you pub-goers would send me the data, or even pub managers themselves.

    But if no one sends me Amnesia info in the next couple days, I'll give them a call and find out.

  5. To understand how a brewery/pub might view the cost of filling a growler, it might be more applicable to compare it to the price of 4 pints - provided the pour honest pints...

  6. jfwells: It has been pointed out to me that pubs have different economics than bottlers. On the previous post, Patrick proposed happy-hour price as a growler benchmark. I would love it if, for example, Roots translated their $2.50 imperial pints into $8 growlers.

    The public puts money on the table for draft beer and for bottled beer. My question is, does it make sense for pubs to fill growlers cheaply, to grab more of the money off that table?

    Patrick talked about the "opportunity cost" of beer that goes into growlers instead of pints. I see his point, but it assumes that growler sales cannibalize pint sales instead of taking market share from bottled beer.

    I doubt that assumption is true, but then again, I'm not in the business.

  7. Leave it to a software engineer to be able to pull this off.

    Thanks for the great info!

  8. Thanks for the compliment, Anon.

    But I must say that anyone could pull this off. It's just Google Maps.

  9. I might be mistaken, but I think laurelwood growler refills are now $10 not $9 any longer.

  10. Ralph,

    I'm a frequent growler buyer from Laurelwood and they now are $10/refill. However, you can get a punch card from them for 10th one for $1 after first 9 purchased. Effective price of $9.10 a growler.

    And Bill, I'll get you Alameda's info too. I know they are $11 for refills, but I don't have the other info.

  11. I would recheck the Bridgeport on SE Hawthorne info. Last time I was there, they would not fill my growler at all. Also, what about Alameda Brewing on NE Fremont. They fill, competitors too ~ $11. (no masons). Also, Concordia Ale House @ NE 33rd x NE Killingsworth fills growlers with any of their taps. Not cheap, but they have 20 some odd draughts to chose from.

    Love the idea here, but would appreciate some updating if someone has it in them. Thanks for the time & effort.

    Knowledge is power (or at least a good buzz) !

  12. Sorry, couple more:

    Lucky Labs (NW, SE, SW) fill growlers. Not sure of price.

    And Roots Organic Brewery in SE fills.


  13. chop: I'll add Alameda, thanks for the info!

    SE Bridgeport I verified in person last month. Read more here.

    I have Roots and the SE Lucky Lab on there already. True, I should add the other Labs but I want to hear from an eyewitness about the prices.

  14. Just get yourself a corny keg! The OLCC treats these like big growlers (ie no paperwork) YOu can get 5 gallons for 53 bucks at lauralwood and I think HUB does it too. Basically ends up being around a buck a beer. Of course you need a CO2 system and a place to keep it but I roughly cut my beer weekly beer budget in half going this route.

  15. In case you get to the coast, the Wet Dog Brewpub in Astoria fills for $11.50
    any of their brews.
    But is there a list & description of growlers and their prices anywhere?
    McMenamins has a mason jar--whoopee!
    Keep the list updated!
    Growlers Rule!!!
    Ray Brady

  16. Hi Ray: If you want an alphabetized list of the prices on the map, click on the "View Larger Map" link. The Google map has a list on that page.

    I'll keep it updated within a 20-mile radius of the Hawthorne Bridge, if people will send me detailed and accurate info.

  17. Vancouver- Salmon Creek is $10.50 yes they fill the growlers.

    Hazeldel brewpub is a WHOPPING $18.00, growler fill. (not a chance!)

    Mcminemens on river $10.50 roughly.
    (Mason jars only)

    All verified within the last month.

  18. You don't have any Lucky Lab locations. I don't believe they carry their own growlers, but they will fill competitor growlers because I did so once with Super Dog IPA.

    I just got an e-mail response from Tom that says they do it for 12 "bones".


  19. Mark: Actually, I do have the Hawthorne Lucky Lab on the map. You might have to zoom the map in to get around Roots' marker.

    I have listed a price of $10.75 for growler fills there (info from 8/2008). How sure about the $12 is your source? I'll investigate at the Hawthorne Lab soon; if you fill a growler at one of the other two, let me know the price and I'll put it on the map.

  20. Thank you so much! This is the best local growler price resource I have come across.

    I frequently fill my growler at the Ringler's McMenamin's and they always charge $9.

  21. This is awesome! Thanks for all of your time and effort.

    Just a suggestion.

    I would REALLY REALLY love this if you had Cornelious Keg fill prices on this map as well.......

    Thanks Ed Brew-Head

  22. Ed: If you send me Cornelius prices for places on the map, I'll add them!

  23. Wow you guys pay way too much for your growlers. I'm Canadian and the two craft breweries in Halifax charge $8 to 9 for a 64oz fill. Of course as mentioned already our 6 packs run at $12.

  24. Pyramid's Filler-Up Fridays at Mac's Taproom - are BoGo if you bring 2 growlers. Buy one fill, Get One Free! I'm on my way there tonight. (Web Site says it's now $10 to buy a Growler...I don't see the regular fill price)


  25. Ram Restaurant and Brewery in Happy Valley in the Clackamas Mall has $10.50 refills. Half off, $5.25 refills on Saturday & Sunday.

  26. I added Ram even though you didn't say how much they charge for an empty growler (or first one), and whether they accept competitor growlers or mason jars.

    So... do you have an answer for those?