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 john@beerlawcenter.com 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.

Comments

  1. Thanks for the info. Just a few questions, are any Breweries or Retailers following the Growler Fill or Refill labeling requirements? I have had growlers refilled in the past few weeks (some with a growler from that brewery and some with an “outside” growler) and none of these brewery added information to my growlers that meet the Growler Fill or Refill labeling requirements. Are these requirements implemented? Does all of the info need to be on the growler (never has a date, brand name of product, or the statement: “This product may be unfiltered and unpasteurized. Keep refrigerated at all times.” been on or added to a growler I had refilled in NC).

    It is aggravating enough when a brewery won’t fill my far superior stainless steel growler vs the poorly designed for beer moonshine jug style glass growler they sell, but it is even more infuriating when they say that my stainless steel growler doesn’t meet the legal labeling requirements when their cheap glass house growler doesn’t met legal labeling requirements either!

    • Mollie Schwam says:

      Hi Chris,

      The breweries and/or retailers should adhere to the NC law which requires a label with that information on it. I think that the NC growler laws are not being strictly enforced, at least that’s what it sounds like.

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