Get SF Weekly Newsletters

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Is a Growler a Cheap Way to Drink? Depends on Where You Shop

Posted By on Tue, May 25, 2010 at 3:31 PM

click to enlarge NOAH SUSSMAN/FLICKR
Up in the Pacific Northwest, SFoodie had friends who'd keep a couple of the 64-ounce jugs in their trunk on road trips just in case they passed a brewpub. They'd fill the growlers up at the taps, then bring home beer to drink a few days later. Once we moved, we started hearing about friends in the Bay Area who were stocking their fridge with growlers. (A New York Times article from a few years back provides some background intel on the glass bottles.)

We always assumed it was a cheaper way to drink. So last week, we embarked on a project to compare a few pints of beer that we'd drink at the brewpub against beer from growlers kept in the fridge for a few days. That's when we realized that we didn't have the budget.

At Magnolia, for example, a 20-ounce pint of Prescription Pale costs $6. Refilling a half-gallon/2-liter growler ($8 for a flip-top glass container, which you keep until the end of time) with the beer costs $17. That works out to be 3.5 imperial pints for the cost of almost 2.8, so you're essentially saving yourself $4 ― but only after paying for the bottle. In addition, the growler program doesn't cover cask-conditioned ales.

We called around to every brewery and brewpub in town, and found that some places offer a significant discount, while others charge essentially their pub prices for beer. The advantage there, of course, is that you take limited-release, unbottled microbrews home to drink ― beer world's equivalent of bringing home a couple bottles after a day of wine-tasting.

Following is a list of growler prices for San Francisco breweries:

Anchor Brewing Company: Does not sell beer by the growler.

Beach Chalet, 1000 Great Hwy,


Growler: $12 (includes beer). Refills: $8.

Gordon Biersch, 2 Harrison (at Embarcadero), 243-8246.

First growler plus beer (screwtop bottle): $30. Refills: $10.

Magnolia Pub, 1398

Haight (at Masonic), 864-7468.

Growler plus first fill: $25. Refills: $17.

Rogue Ales Public House, 673 Union

(at Powell), 362-7880.

Growler: $4. Beer: $17-$21.

Social Kitchen and Brewery: Not selling growlers yet.

Speakeasy, 1195 Evans (at Keith),


Growlers available Fridays from 4 p.m.-8 p.m.; ask the brewery about price.

ThirstyBear, 661 Howard (at Third St.), 974-0905.

Growler: $8, or $16 filled with beer. Refills: $10-$12.


Amendment, 563 Second St. (at South Park), 369-0900‎.

Growler: $3.95. Beer: $15.95 and up.

In addition, this Chowhound discussion has information on a few additional East Bay and South Bay brewpubs' growler policies.

Follow us on Twitter: @SFoodie

  • Pin It

Tags: ,

About The Author

Jonathan Kauffman


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Popular Stories

  1. Most Popular Stories
  2. Stories You Missed

Like us on Facebook


  • clipping at Brava Theater Sept. 11
    Sub Pop recording artists 'clipping.' brought their brand of noise-driven experimental hip hop to the closing night of 2016's San Francisco Electronic Music Fest this past Sunday. The packed Brava Theater hosted an initially seated crowd that ended the night jumping and dancing against the front of the stage. The trio performed a set focused on their recently released Sci-Fi Horror concept album, 'Splendor & Misery', then delved into their dancier and more aggressive back catalogue, and recent single 'Wriggle'. Opening performances included local experimental electronic duo 'Tujurikkuja' and computer music artist 'Madalyn Merkey.'"