HB 2606 goes into effect August 2nd with a number of requirements on the nature of the container. We riffed a bit on how the language of the law specifies glass and would seem to preclude stainless steel growlers. (I've been told by at least two business owners that their liquor agents indicated that their operating rules would allow them. We shall wait and see.) I've highlighted the relevant passages in Title 4 of the Arizona Revised Statutes.
c) A Bar, Beer And Wine Bar, Liquor Store, Beer And Wine Store Or Domestic Microbrewery Licensee Who Dispenses Beer Only In A Clean Glass Container With A Maximum Capacity That Does Not Exceed One Gallon And Not For Consumption On The Premises As Long As:
It's been assumed by most people in the industry that the current practice of using electrical tape to seal will be sufficient to meet the plastic adhesive seal requirement. The "shrink wrap" method uses a heat gun to tighten the plastic around the lid and technically there is no adhesion, only shrinking. So we are left with the actual container: clean glass, under 1 Gallon, with government warning.(i) The Licensee Or The Licensee's Employee Fills The Container At The Tap At The Time Of Sale.(ii) The Container Is Sealed With A Plastic Adhesive And Displays A Government Warning Label.(iii) The Dispensing Of That Beer Is Not Done Through A Drive-Through Or Walk-Up Service Window.
To the letter of the law, I submit to you these examples. In most cases, I wouldn't expect bars and stores to fill them, but as we go through the list, you might see why a brewery would start to get nervous as all control over the branding is lost. Heck, I'd be saddened if I saw beer in most of these.
1) The Out-of-State Brewery - It says beer. It also says, "sorry we have no idea which brewery" and it's most likely not American Amber after the first fill. I didn't snap a pic, but it has the federal warning on the back.
2) The Father's Day Gift or "look what I found in Dad's fridge while visiting, let's go get it filled". Note: It's 1 quart, it has the warning label and it's cheap. If you weren't sensing the discomfort from a local brewery in the last picture, well, we're on our way.
3) The Wine is the New Beer. Impress your wine friends and re-affirm that high hopped beer tastes like skunks. It comes in half and one gallon government approved vessels.
4) The Bootlegger. Hey, it's glass and it screws on. High proof liquor makes sanitation a lock! I spotted this 1 gallon variety at Target. Coincidentally, some Target stores have the necessary license to to make this happen.
6) The Late 90's Homebrewer. This for all of you that took a 10 year hiatus to raise a child and want to get back into the hobby. Root around in the garage and you've got a literal bottleneck waiting to happen at the draft tower. Use this time to talk to other customers about how cool brewing is. Sealable? Perhaps not.
7) The "Alcoholism Doesn't Run in my Family, It Rides in the Passenger Seat". Sir, that's plastic. We can't use that even though it has a label and is clean and those little ones... Can I call you a cab?
I've obviously taken this to an extreme, but there is a certain kernel of truth in each of these examples and you can see where those of us that care about the image of beer have our concerns.
Edit-- This paragraph missed the initial cut, but it's the point of the whole post:
The larger point is this. Before the law, the breweries would use their judgement as to what a suitable container would be. Invariably, it would be one that they issued with their branding on it. Now that a number of license holders can sell in growlers and they can do so without worry about branding, well. You're likely to see a great variety of glass containers filled.
Wherever possible, I will use a growler with the correct brewery's logo or I will use an unmarked government labeled growler.
It seems like a reasonable thing to do.