Craft beers now "growl"


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Beer lovers and breweries, rejoice.

A new law that allows more retailers to sell craft beer to take home in “growlers” — refillable containers usually made of glass — will go into effect today across Iowa.

“There are a lot of breweries who aren’t bottling or canning who have been waiting for this,” said Quinton McClain, the owner and brewer at the Lion Bridge Brewing Co. in Cedar Rapids.

At retailers such as HyVee and Lucky’s Market, this service was already available.

Chris DeSaulniers, the store director of HyVee, 1720 Waterfront Drive, said HyVee had an on-premise license that allowed it to sell growlers at its market café.

HyVee has been selling local beers for about one year, he said.

Chris Martinez, an employee at Lucky’s, located in the Iowa City Marketplace, said the establishment has a license allowing it to sell growlers from its café.

For many stores, this will be the first time they are able to sell beer in this manner. Many establishments with a large selection of craft beers are finding different ways to implement growlers.

Chris Moore, the beer manager for John’s Grocery, 401 E. Market St., said the store will sell growlers and have growler fills going from Thursday to Saturday to celebrate the new law.

“This is a first for us, so we’re all pretty excited,” Moore said.

If the growler fills turn out to be a success, he said, customers can expect John’s to keep doing weekly fill-ups with new beers on tap each week.

Melissa Arp, a specialties coordinator for the New Pioneer Co-op, address, said the Co-op plans on selling recyclable growlers in its stores.

“It’s a service New Pioneer has been excited about implementing for some time now,” she said.

She said there are no growlers ready just yet, but Co-op customers should see growlers sometime in the coming months.

Arp said the Co-op hopes to promote many smaller local breweries that don’t bottle or can their brews and may go unnoticed by many beer enthusiasts.

Lion Bridge is the type of brewery that New Pioneer hopes to promote when it starts selling beer in growlers.

McClain said he doesn’t know who exactly will get in the growler business, but he hopes to see beer-filling stations in many different stores.

Lion Bridge supplies its beer to different bars and restaurants in the Iowa City area and would love to incorporate many local stores as well.

“I think [this law] is a great thing for our brewery, and other local brewers whose beer isn’t found bottled-up on store shelves,” McClain said.

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