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Growlers VS. Crowlers: What’s the Difference?


If you’re a beer aficionado, you’ve heard of the growler. Growlers are airtight glass, steel or ceramic jugs that provide patrons with a portable, refillable vessel that can be filled up with draft beer at your favorite craft brewery and taken on the go. As the name might suggest, growlers are quite large in size and can transport a lot of beer—64 ounces, to be exact, or a little more than five bottles of beer—while half growlers (called howlers) can hold a respectable 32 ounces. Some herald growlers and howlers as a more mobile flavor-keeping keg. Indeed, what a time to be alive!

So, what can make the new age of beer transport even better? In comes the crowler, the half growler’s aluminum twin. If you haven’t seen a 32-ounce crowler can of beer yet, you will – and you will love it. However, is one portable beer vessel a better option than the other? Both crowlers and growlers have their perks, so keep reading to find out which may be the better fit for your needs.

Glass Growlers and Aluminum Crowlers: How They Work

With a growler, the brewer will fill the glass container with your choice of brew. They then seal it using counter-filled pressure to trap in the flavor and preserve the carbonation. The process ensures pub-like freshness from the comfort of your own home – or anywhere else you choose to indulge taproom quality brew.

The process for a crowler involves an aluminum can which is sanitized and purged of CO2. Purging depletes the can of beer-degrading oxygen, ensuring optimal taste and carbonation. The crowler is then immediately filled. Next, a small sewing machine-like apparatus applies a lid. The machine places the crowler can on a pedestal, which then turns, raises the 32-ounce can, and locks it under pressure into the seamer. The bartender turns it on, and presses GO. All of a sudden, flavor-locked portable premium amber goodness is ready for your enjoyment in your very own crowler.

Three crowlers with product labels attached.

Growler Vs. Crowler: Size

In general, there’s not much of a difference in terms of size. Crowlers are 32 oz. beer transportation devices, which gives you two full pints of your favorite beer. Growlers can offer a bit more size flexibility if you demand more beer. These glass containers typically come in 32. and 64. oz sizes, so they can give you twice as much brew to enjoy if quantity is important to you.

Growler Vs. Crowler: Container Upkeep

Like all glass, growlers need repeat cleaning. Otherwise, foamy residue builds up and the craft beer you’re planning to enjoy won’t be quite as good as you’d like. To keep your growler in good condition, The Glass Jug Beer Lab suggest following a few rules to maintain your growler.

  • Store your growler cold until you have time to clean it to help limit bacterial growth.
  • Triple rinse with hot water to help ensure your growler is clean.
  • Air dry your growler upside down so that moisture can’t sit inside your container and spur bacterial growth.
  • Leave the cap off to prevent the air inside your growler form becoming stagnant.

Unlike the growler, crowlers are a intended for a single use. After you’ve consumed the 32 oz. container, you can rinse out your crowler and recycle it. This is quite beneficial for anyone who doesn’t want to worry about keeping your container clean for every visit to your favorite establishment.

Growler Vs. Crowler: Where Can They Go?

The difference between crowlers and growlers may not be in the taste, but it is in the destination. In the battle of glass vs. aluminum, aluminum goes further, legally speaking. Beaches, bike paths, campgrounds, parks, pools, and public festivals tend to prohibit glass, making them the perfect places for cracking open a crowler. When laws are a pain in the glass, keep calm and reach for a crowler.

Shipping is another destination factor in the crowler vs. growler showdown. Folks who brew from home like to trade their beer growlers in the mail. The growler is shippable, but some say that the growler arrives with partial flatness. Here’s the fix: The crowler can has zero oxygen intake and zero UV light penetration. This scientific superiority implies that crowler cans are better for shipping and long-term keeping. Yes, a container that finally goes and stays the distance.

A 64 oz. growler with a hang tag attached.

Growler vs. Crowler: How Much is a Growler or Crowler Worth?

The final, and for some, deciding factor over growlers vs. crowlers is the price. The fills are the same, but the cost of the containers isn’t. The crowler container is generally less expensive due to low material costs. Some breweries sell crowler containers for little-or-no cost at all, but they’re meant for one-time usage. Growlers vary, but most begin with a one-time charge for the container and then an additional cost for the actual fill. The flipside is that if you want more beer, the 64-ounce growler may be the way to go.

The Beer Growler and Crowler Breakdown

The science behind these containers takes beer to a new level. Until now, it has been impossible to store and ship tap-room quality beer. Those days are over. Transporting premium brew has never been easier, or tastier. While the crowler vs. growler debate may be open for a while, your local brewery may not be. So run, jump, growl, or crawl to your local brewery and pick one up.

Do you need quality product labels for your crowlers or growlers? Contact Blue Label Packaging Co.today about your labeling needs.