Friday, October 29, 2010

Cheap Growler Tip

Two years ago a chief obsession of It's Pub Night was where to get growlers filled cheaply. The price that pubs -- especially brewpubs -- charge to fill growlers is just nonsensical, when you consider the price of bottled beer. From this obsession sprung the Portland Growler Map, and also the Six-Pack Equivalent Calculator.

The Growler Map doesn't seem to get updated all that frequently these days, but John Foyston's column today in the Boregonian starts off with a place that has a great growler fill price on good northwestern beer: Plew's Brews in St. Johns fills growlers for $7. That's an SPE of $7.88 -- 25 cents below the current PBPI 6-pack sale price of $8.13. Good show, Plew's! I've added you to the map, and I'll try to make it up there with an empty growler soon.

This reminds me of another good deal, also in a less-traveled part of town. MacTarnahan's Taproom has always had cheap growler fills -- $6 was the price a couple years ago -- and now they occasionally offer a buy-one-get-one-free deal on growler fills. Follow their twitter account and watch for the BOGO announcements.

The price at Plew's makes good sense -- filling a growler should be like buying a good six-pack. Part of the reason I haven't been going on about growlers lately is that I simply don't buy them anymore, now that I've done the math and seen what a shabby deal they are. I'd rather sit and have a beer or two at a bar; if I'm taking beer home, more often than not it's a sale-price six-pack from the supermarket. If more places went with Plew's formula, growlers would take off.


  1. A friend of mine in Richmond, Va is reporting that the Capital Ale House just rolled out growlers with $5 fills. I told him he had to have heard that incorrectly, but he's swearing that everything they have on tap is five bucks.

    I would tend to agree that lower growler prices would increase usage, but $5 feels like you're robbing the place (5.63 SPE?!?).

  2. Hair of the Dog does non-wood aged beers for $15 per growler fill.

  3. Thanks, Nicole. I added them to the map. Do you know if they have empty growlers, and if so how much?

  4. Bill,

    At HOTD, you have to bring your own growler. It would be a sight to see them design one after the pretty, pretty glassware that Alan has brought out.


  5. Hello -- this is in response to the Capital Ale House comments. I was in the Midlothian location last night (November 11). The growlers themselves are $5. The fills range from $12.50 (about 15-20 choices) to $25 (Delirium Tremens) depending on the beer. The Midlothian location had growler prices on 77 taps, including 2 cask ales. (Imagine having to fill a growler from a hand pump -- lol)
    Hope this helps.