via The Citizen’s Voice by Denise Allabaugh
Beer drinkers who like to fill reusable bottles known as growlers can find another option growing in popularity at Sabatini’s Bottleshop & Bar: crowlers.
Owner Lindo Sabatini said people can choose from 24 beers on draft to fill a crowler, a 32-ounce aluminium can sealed on the spot for one-time use. Sabatini said his pub is the only one in the local area with a crowler system. Sabatini’s name is on the cans and there is a space where he can write down what beer was chosen.
“If someone gets a few crowlers, then they will be able to know which one is which …,” he said. “This system allows people to take home beer that we have on draft and have fresh beer at home.”
Once a crowler is sealed, no light gets in and there won’t be oxygen leaks, Sabatini said. The concept of crowlers also makes sense for people who are going someplace where they don’t want to bring their growlers, he said.
“A can is a lot easier to get in and out than growlers. You don’t have to worry about them breaking,” he said. “Their popularity is definitely growing.”
According to bonappetit.com, more than 600 crowler machines are being used in America and more breweries are offering crowlers as a takeaway beer option. Crowlers were developed by Longmont, Colorado-based Oskar Blues Brewery.
“They started canning beer in 2004 and back then, it was not acceptable to put craft beer in cans,” Sabatini said. “People say cans give a different taste to the beer, but that’s not true. These cans, as with any cans that a brewery uses, have a small liner in them so the beer is not actually touching the middle.”
The cans are made by Ball Corp. and Wisconsin Aluminum Foundry manufacturers the crowler machines. The system and the cans cost more than $5,000, Sabatini said. The cost for a crowler and to fill it typically ranges from $7.95 to $12.95, while some imported beer could cost about $30, he said. Growlers, which range in size from 16 ounces up to two liters, range in price from $5 to about $25 and cost about the same to fill as a crowler, he also said.
Sabatini said he sells a few dozen crowlers on a typical day and on the weekend, the number often jumps to more than 70. Crowlers are becoming more popular among craft beer customers, especially when beer is only offered through a limited release or if breweries don’t package the beer, he said.
“Then when we have it on draft, it’s the only way to take it home,” he said. “It allows us to provide that beer to go when you wouldn’t be able to get it otherwise.”
Popular craft beers that Sabatini’s does well with in crowlers include Shandy beers made by Susquehanna Brewing Co. in Jenkins Twp. and Sole Artisan Ales, also made there. Fred Maier, vice president of Susquehanna, said using crowlers is an easier and cheaper way to experiment and try new craft beer brands like Blueberry Thrill Shandy.
“They (crowlers) are a fantastic way of taking beer home with you,” Maier said.
photo via Ozark Blue