Growlers: the latest thing

| 15 Feb 2012 | 11:18

Local shop selling beer by the reusable container Franklin — Growlers have been spotted in Franklin. Relax, growlers are not angry animals, but reusable glass beer containers. “We have craft beers and seasonal beers on tap,” said Ray Stecky, ShopRite Wines and Spirits supervisor. Craft beers are generally lower volume production specialty beers. And the new sales are gaining traction. “We have repeat customers for the growlers,” said Pat Stella of Hamburg, ShopRite Wines and Spirits manager. The term growler refers to beer sold in a 64-ounce container that looks more like a jug than a large bottle. The sealable bottle allows customers to enjoy tap beer at home. Customers do not favor one brand but like to sample different brands and flavors, the two say. “They might have one they really like but they always want to try something different,” said Stecky. “They are somebody who does not mind spending more money for a premium beer.” How it works A growler is the equivalent of about five beers, almost a six pack explained Stecky. The store has sold 60 growler containers bearing the ShopRite Wines and Spirits logo but the store is happy to fill any growler container a customer brings in. They point out that reusing a container is environmentally friendly. Tap beer is dispensed into a growler container and the bottle is sealed with a metal cap. Consumers should plan ahead before buying a growler. “If you bought it today you could probably get about five days without opening it,” said Stecky. “Once you open it you should drink it in two days. Come in Thursday or Friday night knowing you are going to drink it on the weekend. You do not want to buy it on Monday to have it on Saturday.” “We have five brands on tap,” said Stella. “The most popular right now is Ramstein, from Butler.” The store introduced growler beer sales just before the holidays and has already changed the brands available on tap. “We are not on the original five brands,” Stella said. The prices for a growler beer are higher initially as compared to a prepackaged 64-ounce beverage. “The difference is you are buying the bottle,” said Stella. “There is a $4.99 cost of buying the bottle.” Several customers have made multiple purchases, they say. “We had two guys bring in our growler and one of their own and we filled up both of them,” said Stella. “The beer ranges between $12.99 and $18.99.” The store Formerly located a half mile north on Route 23, the store was adjacent to ShopRite food store. But it moved recently. While still on the same highway the new store is double the size. “It is a better location for us,” said Stecky. “Better access from the highway, better visibility, better parking.” Along with the craft tap beers, the store recently tripled the size of its craft beer department. The New Jersey prepackaged brands in stock include River Horse from Lambertville, Cricket Hill of Fairfield, Climax of Roselle Park and Flying Fish of Cherry Hill. A new addition to the store is the Beer Cave. “These are our volume items,” said Steckey pointing toward cases of beer lining the walls of a walk-in refrigerator. “Customers can bring their shopping cart in. These are 30 packs and 24 packs.” By the numbers Growler container $4.99 Growler containers sold to date 60 Tap beer per 64 ounces $12.99 — $18.99