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General Category => General Homebrew Discussion => Topic started by: skyler on July 11, 2011, 07:55:25 PM

Title: Petition to Change California Growler Law
Post by: skyler on July 11, 2011, 07:55:25 PM
I am not sure where this petition originated, but I imagine most of you would agree with the cause. In California, a weird law requires a brewery to only fill a growler that they sold. That means that you can't get Stone beer in a Sierra Nevada growler or your own unmarked growler. It is annoying and weird to have to have the specific growler, and this petition wants to create a statewide growler that would work everywhere in California.

http://www.petitionspot.com/petitions/CaliforniaGrowlers
Title: Re: Petition to Change California Growler Law
Post by: tomsawyer on July 11, 2011, 08:26:22 PM
I'd buy a Carowler just for the novelty.

Or would that be a Califrowler?
Title: Re: Petition to Change California Growler Law
Post by: tom on July 11, 2011, 09:19:28 PM
In Colorado it's due to the labelling of the container.  They just slap a sticker over the other brewery's name.
Title: Re: Petition to Change California Growler Law
Post by: scooter2374 on July 11, 2011, 10:35:42 PM
NJ is just as bad. The ABC here can't get it's story straight as it tells some bars/restaurants that they can't fill growlers at all while telling others that it's quite OK. One guy I talked to had a lawyer look into it and his findings seem to state that any place that sells beer on tap can fill any growler. It's maddening.
Title: Re: Petition to Change California Growler Law
Post by: sailortodd on July 12, 2011, 12:31:13 AM
interesting idea, but making a "Califrowler" causes marketing problems for the breweries, doesn't it? Not being able to display their own label on their own product could be an issue the breweries will have. I'm all for being able to use X growler at Y brewery, but mandating a statewide growler be used is kind of odd.
Title: Re: Petition to Change California Growler Law
Post by: Thirsty_Monk on July 13, 2011, 02:52:53 AM
I would not want to have someone else beer in my growler.
For me as a brewer it is marketing advantage.
I ask for deposit on growler and I refund the returns.
Title: Re: Petition to Change California Growler Law
Post by: sailortodd on July 13, 2011, 07:50:04 PM
I ask for deposit on growler and I refund the returns.
That sounds like an awesome way to do things. If the breweries I've visited did that, I wouldn't have half a dozen growlers kicking around (well, maybe).
Title: Re: Petition to Change California Growler Law
Post by: micsager on July 13, 2011, 08:43:55 PM
I ask for deposit on growler and I refund the returns.
That sounds like an awesome way to do things. If the breweries I've visited did that, I wouldn't have half a dozen growlers kicking around (well, maybe).
I just put hooks on the ceiling of my brewery, and hang them all up.  I've got about 40.  (so far)  And even the first of the modern day growlers.  From Otto Brothers.  At least the claim to be the first on their website. 
Title: Re: Petition to Change California Growler Law
Post by: rabid_dingo on July 15, 2011, 07:19:18 AM
Why does it have to have a proprietary label on there. Let's say I buy one of those fancy SS growlers that showed up
Like these: Zythos Project (http://thezythosproject.tumblr.com/post/5856445386/be-good-to-your-beer-sm)

If I spend the money for a nice and shiney SS Brauler, I don't want any stickers on there gumming up the works.

Some laws don't make sense to me... :-\
Title: Re: Petition to Change California Growler Law
Post by: weithman5 on July 15, 2011, 12:45:02 PM
most laws dont make sense
Title: Re: Petition to Change California Growler Law
Post by: skyler on July 15, 2011, 06:19:58 PM
It is especially odd because this is a state where you can buy hard liquor from any grocery store or convenience store (sometimes the ones attached to gas stations), 7 days a week, from 6 am to 2 am. But you can't take your Rogue growler to get filled at Green Flash. While a couple of breweries up here in the bay area will slap a sticker on the cap, many of the breweries I hav visited would only fill their own growlers because "it's California State Law." I hate stuff like this.
Title: Re: Petition to Change California Growler Law
Post by: tankdeer on July 15, 2011, 06:35:37 PM
That doesn't make it especially odd. It's exactly as stated, a labeling thing. Buy/sell laws of hard liquor are totally different. Having grown up in California, I'll still getting used to having to go to a liquor store to get spirits. But at least when you do, the label on the bottle reflects the contents of it - and that's what the law is enforcing.

While I agree it's dumb to not be able to fill blank, unmarked growlers, I do understand not being able to fill other brewery's growlers, and if I was a brewer, I would probably support that. I wouldn't want to put my beer into another brewer's growler. And as I'm sure you're realizing, it's not strictly a California thing. Most states' ABC has a similar law.
Title: Re: Petition to Change California Growler Law
Post by: micsager on July 15, 2011, 09:02:52 PM
I do understand not being able to fill other brewery's growlers, and if I was a brewer, I would probably support that. I wouldn't want to put my beer into another brewer's growler.

As long as someone was actually paying my cold hard cash for my beer, I wouldn't care what they put it in.  I would be greateful for the $10.
Title: Re: Petition to Change California Growler Law
Post by: rabid_dingo on July 16, 2011, 08:34:52 AM
I do understand not being able to fill other brewery's growlers, and if I was a brewer, I would probably support that. I wouldn't want to put my beer into another brewer's growler.

As long as someone was actually paying my cold hard cash for my beer, I wouldn't care what they put it in.  I would be greateful for the $10.

I think that is key. Something along the lines of, "Please share your good thoughts on our beer with others..."
Hell, I'd be ok with shrink wrap plastic on the growler. Much easier to get off....
Title: Re: Petition to Change California Growler Law
Post by: a10t2 on July 16, 2011, 01:13:34 PM
I'm not sure what they're hoping to accomplish with this petition, given that it's a federal law: http://www.ttb.gov/beer/beer-faqs.shtml#b9
Title: Re: Petition to Change California Growler Law
Post by: dbeechum on July 16, 2011, 06:50:04 PM
My hope would beto make California's laws work out however NY does it. NY liquor stores are actually allowed to fill from a draft keg a growler to go - http://www.mybeersoftheworld.com/hentap.html

Even then they seem to have special growlers of their own.
Title: Re: Petition to Change California Growler Law
Post by: morticaixavier on July 16, 2011, 10:41:09 PM
I'm not sure what they're hoping to accomplish with this petition, given that it's a federal law: http://www.ttb.gov/beer/beer-faqs.shtml#b9

not sure what you are seeing there. There are federal labeling laws for SEALED containers but it says that a growler filled to order is treated like a large glass thus no labeling requirements
Title: Re: Petition to Change California Growler Law
Post by: a10t2 on July 18, 2011, 12:15:21 AM
not sure what you are seeing there. There are federal labeling laws for SEALED containers but it says that a growler filled to order is treated like a large glass thus no labeling requirements

Right, so this would work for breweries *if* they fill growlers exclusively at the time or purchase, but it still wouldn't allow anyone to fill another brewery's growler.
Title: Re: Petition to Change California Growler Law
Post by: Thirsty_Monk on July 18, 2011, 12:25:02 AM
not sure what you are seeing there. There are federal labeling laws for SEALED containers but it says that a growler filled to order is treated like a large glass thus no labeling requirements

Right, so this would work for breweries *if* they fill growlers exclusively at the time or purchase, but it still wouldn't allow anyone to fill another brewery's growler.
I fill growlers in advance and then distribute them to the stores.
I will not fill someone else growler.
This would be like Sam Adams filling Sierra Nevada's bottles.

This might be a different story in the brewpub where they fill on demand.
Title: Re: Petition to Change California Growler Law
Post by: jaredkent on July 18, 2011, 03:28:10 AM
I was just in California on vacation and heard about this law while I was visiting Stone. Not only can you only fill up a growler with beer from the brewery on the label, you can only fill up the growler with the style listed on the growler. So a growler that says Stone IPA can't be filled up with Stone Arrogant Bastard, etc.
Title: Re: Petition to Change California Growler Law
Post by: a10t2 on July 18, 2011, 04:17:35 AM
I was just in California on vacation and heard about this law while I was visiting Stone. Not only can you only fill up a growler with beer from the brewery on the label, you can only fill up the growler with the style listed on the growler. So a growler that says Stone IPA can't be filled up with Stone Arrogant Bastard, etc.

Again, that's a *federal* regulation. In this case, 27 CFR 7.21 and 27 CFR 7.27.
Title: Re: Petition to Change California Growler Law
Post by: gisbrewmaster on July 18, 2011, 04:31:35 AM
If the style is really a law then 90% of breweries in CA are breaking the law. Most just have the name and you can fill it with every style.

Title: Re: Petition to Change California Growler Law
Post by: tschmidlin on July 18, 2011, 07:29:02 AM
I was just in California on vacation and heard about this law while I was visiting Stone. Not only can you only fill up a growler with beer from the brewery on the label, you can only fill up the growler with the style listed on the growler. So a growler that says Stone IPA can't be filled up with Stone Arrogant Bastard, etc.

Again, that's a *federal* regulation. In this case, 27 CFR 7.21 and 27 CFR 7.27.
I think you are either misreading the federal law or talking about a different way of using growlers.  According to the federal law you linked to, if I walk in with a growler and ask it to be filled it is considered a large glass and not subject to labeling laws.

Quote
What are the requirements for growlers that are “glasses?”
When the brewer fills a growler at the tap at the brewpub, and not in advance of sale, we consider the growler as a large glass sold at retail. These growlers are not subject to Federal labeling requirements. Some States consider this bottling activity and regulate accordingly. Brewers should check with State authorities.

In WA, I don't know of very many breweries that fill growlers in advance for sale.  Everyone will sell you an empty growler and fill it with the beer of your choice, or they will fill any "growler" you bring in, including mason jars or whatever, they don't care.  They can do this because there are no laws covering it in WA, and it is not a violation of federal law as explained above.

The CA law prevents them from filling growlers on the spot that have a different label, but it is not a violation of Federal law.
Title: Re: Petition to Change California Growler Law
Post by: a10t2 on July 18, 2011, 01:17:13 PM
The CA law prevents them from filling growlers on the spot that have a different label, but it is not a violation of Federal law.

That isn't how I read it, and it isn't how our TTB rep explained it to me - but of course a different official could interpret the law differently. In our case, since I was specifically told *not* to fill growlers from other breweries, I won't do it, even though there's no Colorado law prohibiting it.

Quote
27 CFR 7.21
Malt beverages in containers shall be deemed to be misbranded:
...
(c) If the container has blown, branded, or burned therein the name or other distinguishing mark of any person engaged in business as a brewer, wholesaler, bottler, or importer, of malt beverages, or of any other person, except the person whose name is required to appear on the brand label.
Title: Re: Petition to Change California Growler Law
Post by: morticaixavier on July 18, 2011, 02:44:59 PM
The california law says that a brewery/brewpub can't fill even an unbranded growler. The growler must be branded with that breweries label. The federal law as I read it states that if you are selling growlers pre-filled they must be labeled according to the labeling law for any other size bottle but if you are filling a growler upon request it doesn't matter, it's the same as pouring a pint in a guiness branded pint glass or a pint glass with no branding at all. and the federal labelling laws relate to the federal warnings about alcahol not specifically your name.
Title: Re: Petition to Change California Growler Law
Post by: tschmidlin on July 18, 2011, 08:39:14 PM
The CA law prevents them from filling growlers on the spot that have a different label, but it is not a violation of Federal law.

That isn't how I read it, and it isn't how our TTB rep explained it to me - but of course a different official could interpret the law differently. In our case, since I was specifically told *not* to fill growlers from other breweries, I won't do it, even though there's no Colorado law prohibiting it.

Quote
27 CFR 7.21
Malt beverages in containers shall be deemed to be misbranded:
...
(c) If the container has blown, branded, or burned therein the name or other distinguishing mark of any person engaged in business as a brewer, wholesaler, bottler, or importer, of malt beverages, or of any other person, except the person whose name is required to appear on the brand label.

Well, you should certainly go by what your local officials and the owners tell you, since they're the ones who will bust you if you don't listen. ;)  I'm still convinced the TTB official is wrong though and you'd win in court, if you felt like going to court and all that. ;D

If you both cared and had time to deal with it, you could point out the info on the TTB's own website for growlers filled at the point of sale (and not before).  "These growlers are not subject to Federal labeling requirements."  It's kind of hard to misinterpret that - 27 CFR 7.21 does not apply.  The difference is when the growler is a "bottle" and when it is a "glass".
Title: Re: Petition to Change California Growler Law
Post by: micsager on July 18, 2011, 09:30:07 PM
I'm not sure what they're hoping to accomplish with this petition, given that it's a federal law: http://www.ttb.gov/beer/beer-faqs.shtml#b9

From that website:
When is a growler a “large glass?”
A growler is a large glass when a consumer uses the container to make a purchase and the brewer then fills the container. Consumers may furnish their own growler or may purchase it from the brewer.
Title: Re: Petition to Change California Growler Law
Post by: a10t2 on July 18, 2011, 09:52:39 PM
It's kind of hard to misinterpret that - 27 CFR 7.21 does not apply.  The difference is when the growler is a "bottle" and when it is a "glass".

The way I'm reading it, that would depend on whether or not a "glass" is also a "container", which may or may not be the case:

Quote
Container. Any can, bottle, barrel, keg, or other closed receptacle, irrespective of size or of the material from which made, for use for the sale of malt beverages at retail.

You may well be right, but I'm going to be a good boy, keep my mouth shut, and do what the government tells me. I'll bring it up again next time I'm on the phone with TTB - which, despite the fact that they're always very nice and very helpful, I'm hoping isn't any time soon.
Title: Re: Petition to Change California Growler Law
Post by: tschmidlin on July 19, 2011, 05:38:51 AM
You may well be right, but I'm going to be a good boy, keep my mouth shut, and do what the government tells me. I'll bring it up again next time I'm on the phone with TTB - which, despite the fact that they're always very nice and very helpful, I'm hoping isn't any time soon.
Keeping your head down sounds like a good plan ;)  If you bring it up let us know what they say.  Keep my name out of it though. ;D

But really, it's these three answers that makes me think it's legal (federally), and you "should check with State authorities"
Quote
What are the concerns for filling a “growler?”
A growler is either a bottle or a large glass. The distinction is solely dependent on the manner in which the brewer fills the container.

When is a growler a “large glass?”
A growler is a large glass when a consumer uses the container to make a purchase and the brewer then fills the container. Consumers may furnish their own growler or may purchase it from the brewer.

What are the requirements for growlers that are “glasses?”
When the brewer fills a growler at the tap at the brewpub, and not in advance of sale, we consider the growler as a large glass sold at retail. These growlers are not subject to Federal labeling requirements. Some States consider this bottling activity and regulate accordingly. Brewers should check with State authorities.