Lately, I have been getting my local beer fix via growlers filled when I stop in somewhere to have a beer and maybe eat some food. If my son had his way we would eat at the brewery all the time because he gets to have a grilled cheese and a soda. His motivation is always easy to figure out.
Something has started to gnaw at me a little bit when it comes to growlers. I am paying more for the privilege of using a reusable container. Hear me out.
On average a growler costs me $12 to $14 to fill. Not bad for 64 ounces of fresh, local craft beer. However, a six pack of 12 ounce bottles from a local brewery only costs $9 to $10 at the grocery store. For the math challenged that works out to an average of $13 for 64 ounces of beer versus an average of $9.50 for 72 ounce of beer. Or, on a per unit basis, approximately $0.20 per ounce for the growler versus approximately $0.13 per ounce for the six pack. Therefore, I am paying more for less beer from the same brewery. Why?
You could argue that the taproom has to be staffed to fill a growler, but I would counter that the same brewery has to staff a bottling line, pay for packaging, deliver the beer to retailers, and in a lot of cases share some promotional cost. Never mind the costs of designing packaging, getting approval from regulators, and what not. This is all for the same beer from the same brewer.
Thus, I am spending more money to use my own container, which is reusable a nearly unlimited number of times, to directly purchase beer from the brewer, so no retailer or middle man gets a cut. What is up with that?