Great Moments in Craft Beer History: The 64-Ounce Growler

By Andy Sparhawk

Growlers are really popular these days. Many craft beer fans have taken to the practice of regularly scheduled 64-ounce growler refills at their favorite local craft breweries. Some dedicated fans even keep an empty, clean growler in their trunk, just in case they come across a great beer that they can’t get anywhere else.

Ever wonder where the growler got its start after Prohibition? Look no further than the early days of Otto Brothers’ Brewing Company, now known as Grand Teton Brewing Company. The original location of Otto Brothers’ was founded in 1988 in Wilson, Wy. By 1992, the brothers had succeeded in legalizing the brewpub in Wyoming, which meant they could sell beer directly to their customers—enter the need for the perfect to-go container.

“In 1989 their father told them about a pre-Prohibition container called a growler. The New England lidded tin pail was refillable at the local pub or bar by the consumer. Charlie wanted to reintroduce the growler in a modern way and so came up with the 64-ounce glass jug still used by breweries today.”

Almost a decade later, ground was broken on a new brewery on the other side of Teton Pass in Victor, Idaho, and in 2000, they changed their name to Grand Teton Brewing Company.

Read more about the genesis of the modern-day growler, and the early days of Otto Brothers’ and Grand Teton Brewing in their blog post, “In the Beginning…

Andy Sparhawk, the Brewers Association's craft beer program coordinator, is a Certified Cicerone® and BJCP Beer Judge. He lives in Arvada, Colorado where he is a homebrewer and avid craft beer enthusiast. On occasion, Andy is inspired to write on his experiences with craft beer, and if they are not too ridiculous, you might see the results here on CraftBeer.com.

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