Growlers are certainly making an impact on the craft beer scene in Australia and their use is set to spread.
While the concept is nothing new – it is currently huge in Europe and America – it has certainly increased in popularity with small breweries like Young Henrys in Sydney and Eagle Bay Brewing Co in WA – to name just two – making the most of the systems to expand the reach of their beer beyond the on-premise market. Off-premise retailers like Warners at the Bay (NSW) and Plonk (ACT) are also making the most of the thirst for craft beer from breweries that do not bottle their stock – running well subscribed-to growler systems in their bottleshops.
On the back of the growing trend, beer systems provider Hoshizaki Lancer is set to be the main distributor of purpose-designed growler filling systems in Australia.
According to Managing Director, Joe Thorp, growler systems have been installed in a limited number of retail and craft brewery outlets, and negotiations were underway to expanding the system across the country.
“While growlers are reasonably new to the Australian market, they are actually quite a phenomenon everywhere else in the world – particularly in Europe,” he says. “Many craft beers are not available in bottles and many of the beers are seasonal, so growlers give people access to a wide range of specialist brews in small quantities.”
And the market is set to expand with Woolworths Liquor getting on board the trend. The retail giant launched their new trial at the recent GABS Festival in Melbourne, with the system to be run out of the Prahran (VIC) premises.
While growlers are most commonly in the form of thick-walled brown glass vessels, there have also been developments in creating metal growlers – some even with double walls and vacuum seals to help preserve the beer for longer – like the recent launch from Brew-Tek.