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Growler sales start
Containers of craft beer popular trend
Growler WEB
Co-owners Cody Anderson, left, and Andre Airich fill a growler Wednesday at Crafty Draught on Peachtree Parkway, which is set to open Saturday. The shop offers draft brews in 64-ounce, take-home containers. - photo by Autumn Vetter


Fans of craft beer often follow the philosophy of quality, not quantity, when enjoying a delicious brew.

Shops selling the specialty beers in special containers, however, have begun to spring up in high quantity in Georgia.

Forsyth County’s first such will open Saturday, offering draft brews in the 64-ounce, take-home containers called growlers.

Cody Anderson, co-owner of Crafty Draught, said the glass containers allow people to take four pints of draft beer to go.

When the growler is empty, customers can return to purchase a refill at the store, across Peachtree Parkway from The Avenue Forsyth.

“The craft beer market as a whole is blowing up right now,” Anderson said. “People want to drink good beer.”

Anderson, along with co-owner Andre Airich, has coordinated with several breweries, including ones in Georgia, to set up a variety of draft beers to rotate in the store’s 20 taps.

The refillable, sealable growlers have been taking off quickly since state law changed to allow the container sales, he said.

The first store in the state opened in late 2010 in Athens, where Anderson attended college.

“I think at one point they were going through 150 growlers a day, and they’ve got competition. They’ve got two other stores up there selling it now,” he said. “They’re still chugging along. There’s a demand.”

Jason Heisch is excited to see growler shops popping up in the north Georgia area.

The craft-beer enthusiast said the container allows people to transport on-tap, draft beer to enjoy in a “comfortable” atmosphere.

“A lot of brewers will do specialty brews that are only in kegs, so it has to be on draft and you’ll have to go to a bar and get it,” Heisch said. “By getting a growler, you can take it home, sit down in your quiet home with your buddies, share it and not have to yell over everybody around you.”

Heisch founded the Society Of Beer Enthusiasts & Researchers, or S.O.B.E.R., to give craft beer drinkers a way to share their interest.

The beverages have become a recent trend, he said, with not only growler stores emerging, but more small breweries as well.

“Beer is no longer considered the mass-consumption alcohol choice to get drunk. It’s something you sit down and enjoy,” Heisch said. “The brewmaster … is putting their heart and soul in that recipe.”

Though the trend has expanded in Georgia, not much has made its way up to the Forsyth area yet.

Heisch has driven from his home in Dawson County to Athens to purchase a growler.

Anderson explained that state laws had previously barred the trend from spreading in Georgia, as compared to other states.

He and Airich first had to seek a change to the local alcohol ordinance  from the Forsyth County commission, which was approved in November.

Since the law changed, Crafty Draught owners weren’t the only ones looking to break into the business.

Cumming Beverage Mart, which opened in the fall, received approval from the county to sell growlers earlier this month.

Owner Michael Yi said the store hopes to add 10 rotating taps in mid-February.

The store at 1770 Buford Hwy. already has several craft brews available in bottles, which Yi said are popular sellers.

“[The growlers] are good for the customer to get a taste,” Yi said. “It gives them a little more choice.”