Growlers—those typically 64-ounce jugs that you never actually have with you when you suddenly decide you want one filled—have recently been on the front line of emboldening America’s beer laws. Earlier this year, we reported on three states—West Virginia, Iowa and Florida—that expanded the legality of getting beer served up in the large reusable containers. Now a Utah brewery is starting to sell high-ABV beer in 64-ounce growlers—a modern-day first for the state.
The stringency of Utah’s beer laws is far from a secret. And according to the Salt Lake Tribune, in the most basic sense, high-ABV growlers are still illegal: Most of the time, growlers are filled at a beer tap, and Utah law only allows beers that are 4 percent ABV or lower to be on tap. But Salt Lake City’s Epic Brewing Company has found a bit of a loophole: Selling high-ABV growlers is perfectly legit if they are prepackaged at a properly licensed brewery. So starting yesterday, the brewer began selling a limited run of prepackaged growlers every Thursday. The Utah Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control even gave them their blessing.
A brewery finally selling high-ABV beers in 64-ounce growlers that aren’t entirely growlers because they aren’t being filled from draft lines might seem like a small victory for beer lovers. And it certainly is. But as the Tribune points out, 64-ounce growlers are actually the largest container people can buy in Utah. The non-commercial sale of kegs was banned back in 1990, and 5-liter mini-kegs were outlawed in 2011. For now, taking advantage of the right to sell growlers is about as much as Utah breweries can do to push back.
“Hopefully we can raise the growler consciousness in Utah,” said Epic spokesman Matthew Allred. Though after 64 ounces of high-ABV beer, that consciousness may be a bit hazy.