The Pub vs. The Growler

Update - Just found out that this month's The Session (#60) will focus on growlers as a topic, so I'm submitting this post even though I've already published it. Hey, it's not even been two weeks!

A month or so ago Isaac posted some really wonderful information about the history of the growler as well as thoughts about growlers and their future from leaders in the beer industry. Today I was reminded of why I don't like growlers, and I want to tell you a little about it. Today I began rereading an old post I wrote a year ago about how to make Colorado Springs a bigger beer destination. I plan to do a type of rewrite of that post soon, so I'm not going to link to it now, but there's one thing that immediately stuck out to me and I had to write about it. In the post I say:

I will create a list of areas I believe we could improve, but I will say that I believe the biggest and most important item is to develop a thriving local beer and pub scene for ourselves. Neighborhood communities should each have their own craft beer bar to encourage walking and getting to know those you live around.

That got me thinking about growlers and their role in developing a beer community. I don't really like growlers, although I really like Isaac's posts, and I have been known to use growlers here and there. The reason I don't like them, especially in this town, is because I think people need to drink in the pub more often. More people need to get out to their brewery, sit in there and drink some beer, rather than buy a growler and leave. You lose your connection to a place, to a brewery, when you don't ever go there, and when you do it's just to get in and get out. The pub, or the brewery, should be a center for social activity (my opinion), a way to bond people together, and the less that happens the less of a craft beer community we'll have.

We have some really great drinking spots, we have plenty of room for more great beer bars, but the only way for them to be successful and for new ones to be successful is to actually go to them, bring some friends, and enjoy a few pints of beer. Ultimately this is what will make Colorado Springs more and more popular with the beer crowd because showing up is what brings life to the pub. If we don't show up, no one will know about that place or care about it. Not only that, but less craft beer will be distributed to this town if we aren't out there asking for it. I think that growlers do pubs a terrible disservice. I think growlers have their place, they can be good for parties, I know that they are generally cheaper per ounce, but perhaps in this town we rely on them too much?

These are just initial thoughts, not really put together really nicely, but I wouldn't mind hearing from you all about what you think.

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BeerEric Steen