Craft Beer CultureWhat Is The Difference Between Crowlers And Growlers


We get a lot of people asking us what this green machine we have behind the bar is. It looks like a coffee grinder. In reality, it’s our crowler machine – the equipment we need to put a proper seal on the lid of our crowlers.

What is a crowler?

In short, it’s a very tall, tallboy can. Specifically, a crowler is a 32oz can that we can fill up with beer from our taps and then seal so you can take it to-go. So often in the beer world, breweries make draught only beers, as in they don’t provide any can or bottle options of specific brews. Especially at Garth’s Brew Bar, I purposefully prioritize selecting craft beers that are only offered as draught. Regardless of the beer’s status, crowler’s make it easy for you to grab and go.

A few months back, we wrote a case for canned beer and many of the benefits of your 12 and 16 ounce cans still apply to the 32 ounce crowler.

It’s aluminum and thus nearly infinitely recyclable. It fits nicely on a fridge shelf. And there is still no need to wonder where a bottle opener is. Even better, there’s no need to wonder where that growler (32 ounce or 64 ounce glass jug) cap is because you treat the crowler like you would any other canned beverage – it comes with a pull tab.

If you want a deeper dive into the history of the crowler, check out this Bon Appetite article Why The World Needs More Crowlers.

Another difference compared to growlers – for better or worse – is that that once you open a crowler, it’s open and should be finished in a single sitting, whereas with growlers, if you put the cap back on, it can hold carbonation and flavor for a couple of additional days. (That said, in a pinch you can saran wrap your crowler and put it in the fridge right away and likely get a day more out of it.)

One thing I personally love about crowlers over growlers is that retailers like us can come up with our own labels for the can, which isn’t as simple or aesthetically pleasing on a growler, for example.

If you’ve visited us or purchased a crowler from us, you’ve likely familiarized yourself with Marvin the moose. His illustration is sported on our crowler labels. However, as much as we love showcasing Marvin, we’re excited to share that we collaborated with Em Sauter, otherwise known as the influential craft beer maven behind the @PintsAndPanels Twitter account, to design a new temporary label.

(Don’t worry, Marvin will make his comeback once we’re out of our limited edition run of PintsAndPanels labels.)

Em and I chatted and decided to create a crowler label that highlights the best benefit of a crowler: that you can bring it out with you to all the activities where glass is often not allowed and where beer can be shared with close friends. We call them the “ing” activities. Hiking. Camping. Ice skating. Bird watching. Grilling. Hammocking.

Enjoy it in all its glory in the photo above or swing into Garth’s Brew Bar to pick up a crowler.

P.s. Pro tip: If you really love the label and you have nails, it’s pretty easy to peel it off and re-stick the label on your beer fridge.


  • Bob "Now go have a beer" Paolino

    August 3, 2021 at 3:41 pm

    I’ll still choose growler (either glass or stainless steel) over (c)rowler. The can may be “nearly infinitely recyclable” (at least in an ideal world with effective recycling programs and 100% compliance, not so much in the real world), but the growler is “nearly infinitely reusable,” which makes it massively superior to a can with respect to sustainability. That alone is enough to win this matchup.

    The other victory for growlers is that they are resealable. Even two people may not want to drink a litre of 13% barrel-aged Imperial stout in one sitting. With a growler, I can pour a couple of 200ml snifters to enjoy now and put the rest away to enjoy at another time. And, by the way, it’s a myth that beer necessarily loses carbonation in a growler after only a couple days.
    Sometimes that’s true because of a faulty cap on some glass growlers, but swing tops and stainless steel growlers usually do better. And unfiltered beers maintain carbonation better not just because of a good seal on the growler, but also because the yeast continue to do what they do so well. But even if it does last only a couple days, with a growler you get to enjoy that great beer in two separate sittings, for double the enjoyment. If I have a (c)rowler anyway, I can get around that one-shot shortcoming by pouring the remaining beer into a small growler, but the beer is going to pick up extra oxygen in the transfer, so why not just start with the growler at the point of purchase?


    • Garth's Brew Bar

      August 3, 2021 at 5:09 pm

      Pretty great points for sure! Have you seen the growth of different sized cans to fill up? Then you don’t have to worry about ordering too large of a size of a high ABV beer. Some great craft beer bars are jumping on that trend – though it’s a bit of an equipment investment.


  • Bob "Now go have a beer" Paolino

    August 3, 2021 at 3:55 pm

    P.S. Two points I meant to include:

    1. Take a crowler where you can’t take glass? Absolutely, one partial point for the can. Just note that not all growlers are glass. I really like my two stainless steel growlers.

    2. Garth, you didn’t mention it, but the one real advantage of the can over the growler is that you don’t have to plan ahead. Like many people, I have way too many growlers, and if it comes down to having to buy and store yet another one to get a fill of a particular beer because I didn’t bring one (or a brewery insists on filling only growlers with its own logo), I’m going to skip the beer to-go. With the can option, you don’t have to kick yourself for forgetting a growler. (Just keep a couple empty growlers in the trunk, and you’ll be covered, at least when you are arriving by car.)


    • Garth's Brew Bar

      August 3, 2021 at 5:01 pm

      Agreed on both counts. I love my stainless steel growler, too. Although, it can be obnoxious to pack sometimes. Ha. And it’s crazy to think there are some breweries that still require you to purchase their growlers. I get it, but come on.


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