Growlers sort of make a temporary comeback as B.C. government looks to help a battered service industry

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      The British Columbia brewing industry, and those who enjoy drinking their beer from growlers as opposed to cans and bottles, have just received some good news from the provincial government.

      The British Columbia provincial health officer has given the green light to breweries to sell growlers to customers who’ve purchased a meal. The temporary authorization is good until June 6, 2021.

      To help slow down the transmission of COVID-19, British Columbia halted the sale of draught beer in growlers on July 13, 2020. B.C. brewers were allowed to sell draught to those drinking on site, although COVID-19 protocols drastically reduced the numbers of patrons allowed.

      Breweries have been asking for the right to sell growlers again ever since last July’s ban.

      The decision to allow growler sales for the next two months is tied to the provincial health officer’s recently imposed ban on indoor service at restaurants and pubs. That decision was made in an attempt to slow down a province-wide rise in COVID-19 infections. Patio service—for those lucky to have patios—is still being allowed, as is take out, and delivery service.

      Before you get all excited and start hauling your growlers out of the cupboard, the shoe closet, or the garage, beer is only allowed to be sold in new vessels. And the guidelines don't stop there. 

      In an email to the Straight, provincial officials outlined things as follows: 

      Only growlers and bombers of the following volumes may be used. This is consistent with the restrictions which apply to Manufacturers selling growlers and bombers:

      • 500 ml
      • 0.95 L (32 US fl oz)
      • 1 L
      • 1.89 L (64 US fl oz)
      • 2 L
      • 3.79 L (US fl oz)
      • 4 L

      A return to growler sales, even if they are only new ones, is seen as helping to reduce the chances of breweries having to dump beer that might spoil. Sales will also help generate revenue, offsetting losses caused by the ban on indoor service.

      In a press release, Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General Mike Farnsworth said that the past year has been a tough one for the food and beverage sector. 

      "We continue to work closely with industry representatives to be nimble and find ways to support the many restaurants, pubs and other establishments,” he said.. “I also want to extend my appreciation to the businesses that are adhering to the PHO orders and helping to keep British Columbians safe as we navigate this new wave of COVID-19 cases.”

      The great news in this? You can once again justify that extra beer or three at happy hour on the grounds that the more you open the growler and pour, the flatter the beer starts to become. And, as the provincial health officer has noted, that last thing anyone wants is wasted beer.