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)

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

An ARBOC Spirit of Freedom bus. Photo: BC Transit
Creston Valley Transit receives new fleet of buses

The 26-foot light-duty ARBOC Spirit of Freedom buses can carry up to 21 passengers and provide flexibility for up to two mobility aids.

Amanda Parsons, a registered nurse on staff at the Northwood Care facility, administers a dose of the Moderna vaccine to Ann Hicks, 77, in Halifax on Monday, Jan. 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan-Pool
61 new COVID-19 cases, two more deaths in Interior Health

Twenty-nine people are in hospital, seven of whom are in intensive care

Andre Robert won $500,000 through a Lotto Extra ticket on Dec. 23, 2020. Photo: Jeanne d’Arc Allard
Creston resident wins $500k through Lotto ticket

“I was surprised. I wasn’t sure if it was true or not.”

Community mental health workers are in high demand, and a new program at Selkirk College will provide opportunities in this field. File Photo
Selkirk College to train community mental health workers

Twelve students will complete two courses enabling them to work in health and human services

Maj.-Gen. Dany Fortin, vice-president of logistics and operations at the Public Health Agency of Canada, speaks at a news conference on the COVID-19 pandemic in Ottawa, on Friday, Jan. 15, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
B.C. records 500 new COVID-19 cases Wednesday, 14 deaths

Outbreak at Surrey Pretrial jail, two more in health care

(File Photo)
‘10 to 12 per cent’: Interior Health corrects COVID positivity rates in Fernie area

IH say the rates are not as high as previously claimed by the region’s top doctor

Francina Mettes and Thomas Schouten with the 200-page document they submitted in December of 2018. (Travis Paterson/News Staff)
Dutch man, 94, facing unwanted trip home can stay in B.C. with wife of 45 years

Immigration offices cuts red tape so couple of 45 years can stay together in Victoria area

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Health Minister Adrian Dix looks on as Dr. Bonnie Henry pauses for a moment as she gives her daily media briefing regarding Covid-19 for the province of British Columbia in Victoria, B.C, Monday, December 7, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. Premier, health officials to discuss next steps in COVID immunization plan

Nearly 31,000 doses of vaccine the province expected by Jan. 29 could be curtailed due to production issues

Vancouver Canucks’ Travis Hamonic grabs Montreal Canadiens’ Josh Anderson by the face during first period NHL action in Vancouver, Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Horvat scores winner as Canucks dump Habs 6-5 in shootout thriller

Vancouver and Montreal clash again Thursday night

Interior Health has declared the Cariboo Chilcotin a community cluster. (Angie Mindus photo)
Interior Health declares Cariboo Chilcotin region a COVID-19 cluster, 215 cases since Jan. 1

Most cases are related to transmission at social events and gatherings in Williams Lake

A woman writes a message on a memorial mural wall by street artist James “Smokey Devil” Hardy during a memorial to remember victims of illicit drug overdose deaths on International Overdose Awareness Day, in the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver, on Monday, August 31, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. paramedics respond to record-breaking number of overdose calls in 2020

On the front lines, COVID-19 has not only led to more calls, but increased the complexity

Most Read