TABC Doesn't Like Crowlers, But You Can Do Something About It: Complain

A Crowler machine
A Crowler machine
Oskar Blues

Several months ago, when the owners of Lonestar Beverages opened their Lewisville location, Taps and Caps, they made it worth the trek by being the first retail store in the U.S. to offer their customers crowlers. Additionally, Noble Rey Brewing has their own crowler machine, which retails for several thousand dollars.  For the uninitiated, a crowler is a 32 oz. can filled with beer from a tap, which is then sealed and allows the customer to consume their chosen craft beverage in the comfort of their home, at a tailgate or really anywhere that a canned beer can conceivably be drunk. Created by Oskar Blues and Ball Packaging, the crowler allows beer drinkers to not only take home their chosen tap beer, but doesn't require the customer to own a glass growler, which can let in light or break easily.  And being that cans are recyclable, there is little advantage to choosing a growler over a crowler.

Unfortunately, back in July, the TABC decided that crowlers are illegal, unlike growlers, because one involves the manufacturing process of sealing the top of can, but the other involves sealing a cap on a reusable bottle. Huge difference. More specifically, according to TABC spokesperson (and total buzzkill) Chris Porter, "[o]nly someone who manufactures that product can can that product. Canning is looked at as a manufacturing process, and a growler is looked at a little more leniently under the law.” Consequently, the only places that can now offer crowlers are breweries and brewpubs.

Taps and Caps CrowlerEXPAND
Taps and Caps Crowler
Brent Nuss

Some are taking matters into their own hands and fighting for their crowlers. Cuvee Coffee Bar in Austin's owner, Mike McKim, has vowed to fight against TABC preventing him from using the crowler machine that he invested in. When asked about the TABC ruling, Oskar Blues suggested that "there needs to be a law describing a growler (whether it is an aluminum can or a glass vessel) as any container that is filled at the time of sale."

But heroes like Mike McKim should not be in this fight alone. This being 'Murica, one would think that the government telling businesses what to do would upset the masses, especially in Texas.  So, do your part: find your state representative, tell them how you feel, and encourage them to work to change how growlers are legally described.


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