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Arizona’s new beer growler regulations in effect

Arizona’s new growler law goes into effect Aug. 2 – in other words, midnight tonight. This is a huge deal for craft beer drinkers and the state’s craft beer industry. You can find the official Arizona statute here(start on page 44), but here are the basics.

What’s a growler?
A growler is a jug used to transport draft beer. Most are made of brown glass. Most hold a half-gallon (64 ounces) of beer. Most feature a screw-on lid.

Who sells growlers?
Until now, most growlers in Arizona have been sold by breweries and have the brewery’s logo. You buy a growler, then pay an additional fee each time you have it filled at the brewery. Prices start around $10 for the growler. Beer costs vary by the beer.

What does the new law change?
Any Arizona bar or liquor store now is able to sell and refill growlers with any beer it has on tap.

Will every bar and liquor store sell growlers?
No. Each can choose whether or not it will participate. Walgreen’s, which was the primary force behind the push for the new law, isn’t selling growlers – yet.

Will every participating bar and store sell its own branded growler?
Some will. Some won’t. It’s up to them.

Which beers will be available to refill growlers?
It’s up to each bar and store to decide. It’s likely bars will not refill growlers with limited-edition beers only available in small quantities.

What will prices be?
It’s up to each bar or store to set its own prices. Higher-alcohol and harder-to-find beers likely will be priced at a premium.

Will a bar or store refill a growler with someone else’s logo?
It’s up to each bar or store. Many breweries accept other breweries’ growlers but exchange them for one of their own for marketing purposes.

Are there any other requirements?
All growlers must be clean before brought in, sealed with plastic adhesive (typically tape) after refilling and display a government warning label.

As you can see, there’s a lot still to be figured out. Although bars and stores had 90-day notice of the new law, only a few have ordered their own branded growlers so far. Many are still figuring out prices. This will be an ongoing process.

In addition, some Arizonans undoubtedly will test the limits of the new law. For example, the law technically allows refill of any sealable glass container up to a gallon, which means, theoretically, someone could bring in an old pickle jar (not that a bar likely would choose to refill it).




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Bio: Mouth by Southwest covers locally owned restaurants in the Southeast Valley. The blog is written by Jess Harter, a 25-year resident of the Southeast Valley who has written 1,000-plus restaurant reviews for The Arizona Republic, East Valley Tribune and Phoenix New Times, among other publications. Restaurant selection and evaluation are based solely on the author's preferences. Review visits are unannounced, and free food and beverages are not accepted in association with reviews. While Harter has had plenty of foie gras and A5 Kobe, his favorite foods remain pizza, burgers and beer.