Beer drinkers in B.C. had the chance to fill their growlers at restaurants so that the restaurants could sell off the beer from opened kegs before they spoiled. (Joe Wiebe Photo)

B.C. ends short experiment with growler fills at restaurants

Province extends take-out sales of six-packs, wine

For 111 days from March 26 until July 15 B.C. bars and restaurants were legally permitted to fill growlers of draft beer for customers to take away.

But few people knew, or were able to take advantage of it.

That’s because the temporary rule change by the Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch was designed to help restaurants, which were take-out only at the time, to be able to sell beer from kegs that were opened prior to the COVID-19 shutdown. The temporary permit was reversed in a July 13 policy update that extended the sale of packaged beer and wine from stores until Oct. 31.

“A lot of restaurants and brewery tasting rooms had surplus draft beer around, so they were allowed to use that to fill growlers,” said Ian Tostenson, president and CEO of the B.C. Restaurant and Foodservices Association. “It wasn’t [advertised], because you don’t want to [advertise] something you will run out of.”

READ ALSO: So you think you’re not a beer drinker

In the meantime, it stoked a small discussion in the industry as some customers liked it, said one rep from a local craft brewery. Some restaurants also abused the rule, which was supposed to be limited to a 1.9-litre growler or a 650ml bomber.

“There was examples of mason jars and other containers being used that were not laid out by the liquor regulation,” said Ken Beattie, executive director of the British Columbia Craft Brewers Guild.

Growler fills have now reverted back to only those establishments with a brewery manufacturing licence, which is the way breweries have always liked it, Beattie said.

“It’s been the lifeblood of new breweries to have growler sales, and tasting rooms,” Beattie said. “The guild of brewers advocated for it to protect the product, which is best fresh off the tap, the best beer you can have, and it drives traffic to ensure sales.”

In fact, for as popular as they are at many breweries, growlers are likely to be phased out at some breweries around B.C.

That’s because the reliance on growlers has decreased thanks to the advancement of mobile packaging companies which show up to can and bottle beer at small breweries, Beattie added. Having their own in-house packaging is a cost many brewers can’t afford. Other advancements – such as the “crowler,” a one-litre can – are also changing things by holding large amounts of beer, like a growler, but keeping it fresher for longer.

READ ALSO: New brewery and taproom coming to downtown Victoria

The reality is there aren’t a lot of requests for the right to serve growlers that the B.C. Restaurant and Foodservices Association is hearing about, Tostenson said.

“It’s getting into their turf, it’s really the domain of the brewers and it’s not a fight that we’re [taking on],” Tostenson said.

reporter@oakbaynews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism? Make a donation here.

Coronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Plan in place for students’ return at OKIB cultural immersion school

An outdoor program will precede the start of regular classes Sept. 21 at the school on Westside Road

Wedding party bear sprayed at Cherryville campsite

Latest criminal activity at the Meadows leaves locals frustrated

WATCH: Gas line repaired downtown, evac lifted

Firefighters, police on scene near 32nd Avenue — more to come

Armstrong’s IPE hosts special events in COVID-19 ‘gap year’

Progressive 50/50 draw, colouring contest sponsored by IPE; plans going ahead for 2021

Reform taxes to bolster job growth in distilling: Vernon chamber says

Greater Vernon Chamber of Commerce urges residents to push feds for tax reform

Video: SUV burns alongside the highway near Salmon Arm

Footage of the burning vehicle was posted to Youtube.

Federal Conservative leadership candidate skirts COVID-19 rules at Kelowna rally

Derek Sloan held a rally in Kelowna that had over 50 people, which is against health orders from the province

Teachers to get 2 extra days to prepare for students’ return, now set for Sept. 10

Students will first start with orientation and learn rules of COVID-19 classroom policies

High-volume littering at Cape Scott draws ire from hiking groups

Popular Vancouver Island hiking spot not closing, but frustration about crowding grows

SFU to drop ‘Clan’ varsity team name

The ‘Clan’ name is shortened from ‘Clansmen,’ and was introduced roughly 55 years ago

New Tory leader must build a strong team in Commons and for the campaign: Scheer

Scheer marked his final day in the House of Commons today as leader of the Opposition

South Okanagan restaurant ranked among world’s best by TripAdvisor

The Hooded Merganser was ranked within the top 10 per cent of all restaurants by TripAdvisor reviews

Highway 97 upgrade option for Peachland faces 20-year delay

Peachland council disappointed by highways department decision

Kelowna Hells Angels prospect charged with assault, choking

Jason Townsend, 43, was charged after allegedly choking a woman last weekend

Most Read