The lid has been opened for craft beer lovers in Saskatchewan to have more options to fill up their growlers.
The provincial government is now making it possible for off-sales, franchises, private stores and some Saskatchewan Liquor and Gaming Authority (SLGA) stores to provide taps for growler filling.
“It’s a great leap forward,” said Rebellion Brewing’s Jamie Singer. “We’re playing catch up right now in a sense. It’s a growing market. It’s very much in its infancy right now but we’re getting there.”
Growlers are essentially bigger glass bottles, sometimes steel, almost like a reuseable jug. They are typically 64 ounces.
Employees with Rebellion have been outspoken in the past about their desire for the province to change certain liquor laws, especially around growlers.
Before, the only places somebody could fill up these so-called jugs were either at microbreweries and brew pubs where the beer was made, along with farmers’ markets.
Singer has seen the demand rise for this kind of beverage vessel.
“The past year-and-a-half that Rebellion’s been open here we’ve sold thousands of growlers just out of our taproom alone,” he insisted.
Those stores that do decide to offer taps will have to include local beer, according to Minister responsible for SLGA Don McMorris. He explained if there are four or fewer taps, at least one Saskatchewan-made beer must be offered. That number jumps to two taps for locally-produced beer if there are more than four taps.
McMorris said the changes will impact the younger generations based on what he’s experienced.
“Certainly the younger crowd have talked about it and really think it’s a good idea. It makes a lot of sense. Not to say that an old dog like myself couldn’t learn a new trick but it certainly is catering to the younger, I think maybe even a little bit more than my age group.”
McMorris says there are roughly 700 establishments eligible to set up taps. Two SLGA stores–one each in Regina and Saskatoon–will install growler filling stations as a pilot project in the near future.
The opposition NDP’s Deputy Leader Trent Wotherspoon, meantime, thinks all liquor stores in the province should have growler fill stations.
Mainstream beers will not be included as taps for growler fills. The province said the focus is solely on the local craft market.
It gives fans of this type of beer easier access to their favourite selections, according to Singer.
“This represents convenience for our customers, our clients who now can get growler fills of our beer and craft beer in Saskatchewan in general wherever there’s an off-sale, franchise, or private store or public store.”