A few months ago I wrote about how the State Legislature of Maryland forgot to tell Anne Arundel County that it was legal to take your growler from one store to be filled in another. You can read about it here, but to make a long story short AA County moved forward with growler regulations under the old law. But AA County has agreed to change the regulations!
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Maryland State Senator Ed Reilly gave me a call on Friday to let me know that he and others met with the AA County Liquor Board. The Board has agreed to change the regulations so that you can take your growler bought in AA County to any other store in the County. But don’t rush off to fill your growler because I am still waiting to hear from the county on when this will actually go into effect. Also, you still can’t use a growler from outside Anne Arundel.
The reason for the AA County restriction is that Anne Arundel requires every growler to have a statement about refrigerating your beer, and cleaning your growler. It’s like the county is worried we’re all one step away from a beer drinker holocaust where we all poison ourselves unless they hold our hand.
But craft beer drinkers aren’t idiots, and neither are businesses. Craft beer drinkers want to drink quality beer, and businesses want repeat customers. Neither one is going to put $30 worth of Double IPA into a growler that smells like skunk fart. I don’t know you, but if you’re capable of reading this then I’m going to assume you are intelligent enough to not eat a half chewed slice of pizza you find outside Navy-Marine Corps Memorial stadium a week after game day, and the same goes for putting your beer into the growler equivalent of a dirty $2 whore. Then again, maybe you were the kid that was too dumb to eat Kinder Eggs without killing yourself and forced me to grow up without the greatest thing to come out of Europe since Tom Daley.
The problem with these restrictive growler regulations is that they completely defeat some of the reasons for using growlers in the first place. Growlers were originally envisioned to be an environmentally friendly way for a consumer to take beer home. The idea is that the consumer could have a single growler (or maybe two) for all of their beer, eliminating the need for many bottles and cans that would end up in landfills. Many of the environmental benefits of using a growler are greatly diminished when you’re forced to buy a new one at every beer shop. And I just don’t have the room to store a mountain of growlers between my collections of garden gnomes and Wilford Brimley endorsed oatmeal bowls.
Senator Reilly says he’s working on legislation to get this problem fixed. But in the mean time I have a much easier solution. Just go print the warning on to a sticker and slap it on the the side of whatever growler you want to use (assuming it’s from a store in AA County).