Growlers-Rules and Requirements in NC

What are they? Do I need a permit? What does the label look like?
So many questions, and hopefully this article will help clear up some confusion.

Growlers are a rigid glass, plastic, aluminum, or stainless steel container with a flip-top or screw-on lid that is no larger than two 2 liters (0.5283 gallons) into which a malt beverage, or unfortified wine that is dispensed from a keg, is pre-filled, filled, or refilled for off-premises consumption. See NCGS 18B-1001.

Whew! That is a long definition.

Do I need a permit to refill growlers?

A brewery or retailer must have a valid ABC permit for either:

  • On-Premises Malt Beverage permit;
  • Off-Premise Malt Beverage permit; or
  • a wine shop permit (did you know that wine can be in growlers, too?!)

*these permits include filling and refilling of growlers

For Breweries: Label Requirements for Prefilled Growlers

  1. The growler must have a legible label that is approved by the ABC Commission
  2. The label must have the following:
  • Brand name of the product;
  • Name and address of the brewer;
  • Class of product;
  • Net contents;
  • If fortified with any stimulants, you must include the amount of each stimulant; and
  • The alcoholic beverage health warning statement.

For Retailers: Growler Fill or Refill

Retailers that fill or refill growlers do NOT have to submit labels to the ABC Commission for approval. But, retailers must abide by the label requirements:

  • Brand name of the product;
  • Name of brewer;
  • Class of product;
  • Net contents;
  • If fortified with any stimulants, you must include the amount of each stimulant[1];
  • Name and address of the business that filled or refilled the growler;
  • Date of fill or refill;
  • If the beverage is more than six percent alcohol by volume, must display the alcohol contents;
  • The following statement: “This product may be unfiltered and unpasteurized. Keep refrigerated at all times.” And
  • The alcoholic beverage health warning statement.

**It is important to note that once filled or refilled growlers must be sealed with a cap. Why? Because growlers cannot be opened or consumed on premises, even if the establishment holds a permit for on-premise consumption.

FAQs about Growlers

Q: Do I have to fill/refill a growler at a customer’s request?

A: You always have the discretion to refuse to fill or refill a growler as long as it is NOT done in a discriminatory manner; for example, race, sex, religion, national, or disability.

Q: If I know it is going to be a busy night, and I will have several growler requests, can I go ahead and fill several growlers and have them on the shelf ready for sale?

A: Only brewery permittees can prefill growlers and only if prefilled with their own beers.

Q: I have an on-premise permit. Can my customer consume their growler on-site once purchased?

A: No, growlers cannot be opened or consumed on premises.

Q: Who can fill or refill growlers at my establishment?

A: Only the permittee or an employee. A customer cannot fill or refill his or her growler.

*The information found in this article was obtained from the NC Retail Merchants Association

*We blogged about growlers before! Check out the article on Beer Law Center

Contact us!

If you have any questions please do not hesitate to email me at or call 919-335-5291.

Be sure to check out Beer Law Center and Matheson Law Office for all things NC legal.



[1] If the stimulant is caffeine then these may be subjected to state or federal requirements.

Speak Your Mind


%d bloggers like this: