A store that sells beer growlers -- glass jugs used to carry brew from the store back home -- officially opened for business Friday in Avondale Estates.
Named The Beer Growler, of course, the store has 40 taps to dispense beer, ciders and craft sodas into 64- or 32-ounce jugs. Paul Saunders, one of three co-owners, said the Beer Growler in Avondale is the only place in Georgia selling 32-ounce growlers.
What exactly is a growler? This is how it's described in an email from Avondale Estates City Hall.
"A growler is a standard industry term used to describe a glass jug used to transport draft beer for off premises consumption. Traditionally, growlers have been used by smaller breweries and micro-breweries as a cost-effective alternative to more expensive and cumbersome bottling equipment. However, today, growlers have seen a renewed emergence as the popularity of the craft beer segment of the market has grown. Growlers are also recognized as being more environmentally friendly and economical for the consumer."
Lyda Steadman of Avondale Estates was the first customer to put down her money for a growler, immediately after the 11 a.m. ribbon cutting. She got 32 ounces of Ode to Mercy, a brown ale produced by Wild Heaven Craft Beers. She said she picked that beer because Wild Heaven is an Avondale company.
Other businesses in Decatur and Avondale have been pouring growlers. in Decatur started the trend months ago. and in downtown Decatur recently opened up a few growler taps.
But the Beer Growler is dedicated to the idea. It's not a bar and doesn't sell wine or six-packs of beer. When a customer orders a beer, the growlers are filled from taps and sealed in the store. Growlers can be returned for reuse or customers can bring in their own growler -- as long as it fits the description of a growler.
"You couldn't walk in with a milk jug and have it filled up," Saunders said.
Saunders and his partners, Sean Galvin and Denny Young, opened a Beer Growler in Athens last December.
"We weren't sure people would grasp the concept," he said. But the Athens store succeeded and they decided to expand into Avondale Estates.
Growlers were used decades ago but faded in use, only to surge again with the interest in craft beer. Saunders said he and his partners prodded the state to reinterpret alcohol laws to allow the sale of growlers.
Saunders said Avondale Estates, Decatur, Roswell, Sandy Springs, Athens-Clarke County, Forsyth County and Duluth have rewritten their codes to accommodate growlers.
The Beer Growler is at 39 N. Avondale Road, Avondale Estates, Ga. For more information, call 404-228-1463 or visit www.thebeergrowler.net.