Crowlers vs. Growlers
                                    by Diana Joysen

Hello Bob!

I'm one of your loyal readers from Texas and I thought you and your
readers might like to hear what's going on here in the battle of
Crowlers v. Growlers.  Don't laugh, it's a serious court case.

A little more than a year ago, the Texas Alcoholic Beverage
Commission (TABC) raided  the Austin Cuvee Coffee Bar and seized
its Crowler machine. I wasn't there but a friend of mine was and she
said half the people were outraged and the other half were laughing
since the whole thing just seemed so silly.

At the time, the state’s alcohol control board had banned the use of
Crowlers.  Just for those who might not know, a Crowler is a 32 oz.
sealed cans of to-go beer.  I like it because a regular growler is just
too much beer for me to finish before it loses its freshness.

The TABC main argument was that (are they kidding?) bars offering
Crowlers were acting as manufacturers.  For quite a while these so
called regulators had threatened to pull the sales licenses of bars
that used the machine despite the fact that the state still permitted
glass growlers to be filled.  I didn't get their logic then and I still don't
get it now.

Well, finally some sanity has entered the picture.  Last week, Texas
administrative judge John Beeler struck a blow  for logic and against
the state’s case when he rendered a decision that totally refuted the
state’s arguments.

“There is no material difference between growlers and crowlers,”
Beeler wrote in his decision.  I'd say that's so clear even state
bureaucrats can understand even if they don't agree with it.

Judge Beeler went on to dissect the state’s claims that the use of
crowlers “jeopardizes the general welfare, health and safety of the
people” because “beer in crowlers is not properly oxidized,
organisms can get into the product.”  

Bob, I couldn't make this stuff up.

The Judge went on to say that “It appears disingenuous for (TABC)
Staff to assert crowlers are dangerous to the public, unless they are
sold at brewpubs,”  So it's okay at a brewpub but not a bar??

Unfortunately it seems that Judge's Beeler’s decision that Cuvee
wasn’t in violation of the law was limited to just the case at hand
accoding to Cuvee’s attorney Angel Tomasino.  He was quoted in
our local newspaper as saying: “As of now, TABC has not changed
their stance on crowlers, so they could still take action against other
retailers — including Cuvee — if they find them using the crowler
machine,That said, Judge Beeler’s opinion was fairly broad.”  Huh?

I'm guessing they see it as being the same if the bar was physically
capping bottles, rather then using a screw cap or flip top, but
honestly its really hard to tell how they will interpret things.

The way the laws stand now it seems to me that only breweries and
brewpubs can put beer in crowlers. Well then I hope that every
brewery and brewpubI will buy cheap crowler machines now and  
then sell the crowlers to bars for resale.  Take that TABC.

That's it from me. I tried to be objective but I don't think I was.  Sorry
about that.  Anyway, thanks Bob for listening.  Hope your readers will
find it interesting.   

Many thanks  Diana for sending me your article.  I agree with you that
there isn't much difference between a crowler and a growler.   Hope
you get a chance to send another article in and update us on the issue.

I'd like to  invite everyone to send me their own columns about
anything related to beer/drinking/booze just as D
iana did.   I select
the best and publish them here.  So join in and get writing.

BeerNexus proudly presents

Bob Montemurro
"the ombudsman of beer"

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