My latest featured article for RateBeer’s The HopPress… posted on Saturday, November 20th.
I am sitting here enjoying some nice fresh beer in the comfort of my home (a Victory Prima Pils), which I poured from a growler. This simple and enjoyable act is thanks, in part, to a recent change in the beer laws here in Vermont. Growlers sales are on an upward trend nationwide and Vermont has joined a growing number of states that allow larger quantities of “fresh” beer to be sold in retail locations other than a brewery.
Growlers have, of course, been available in Vermont for a while, but a quirky twist to our laws here required that these growlers be filled “from the source”; that is they had to be filled by a brewer at the brewery where the beer was produced. They could then be sold in other places after that, but as all of you know, the shelf life of this type of beer is not conducive to wide distribution without significant loss of quality. The sale of growlers in Vermont outside of that relatively narrow definition were not legal… until recently. In an effort pioneered by two retailers (the Hunger Mountain Coop in Montpelier and the Bennington Beverage Outlet in Bennington, of course), supported heavily by many members of the Vermont Brewers Association as well as a large group of the State’s beverage retailers, the Vermont Department of Liquor Control (DLC) has begun to push forward a rule change that will eventually loosen, significantly, the rules governing the sale of growler-based beer in this state. Like many things in life, this pending rule change has a story behind it… and the story does not have and ending, yet.