Crowler vs Growler: Choosing the Perfect Vessel For Your Craft Beer Adventure

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Craft beer enthusiasts around the world have long debated the merits of two iconic vessels that are essential to their beer-drinking experience: the crowler vs growler. Picture this: you’re standing at your favorite local brewery, mesmerized by the array of tantalizing brews on tap. As you contemplate which beer to take home, you find yourself faced with a crucial decision—should you opt for the sleek, aluminum-crafted crowler or the classic, glass-clad growler? Having navigated this spirited debate myself as a fervent beer lover, I’ve come to realize that the choice between a crowler vs growler is far from arbitrary. It’s a battle of convenience, freshness, and personal preference that goes beyond the mere vessel. So, let’s delve into the world of crowlers vs growlers, uncapping the secrets and sharing my personal experience to help you decide which one reigns supreme.

What is a Crowler vs Growler?

When it comes to transporting and enjoying fresh craft beer, two popular options have emerged: beer crowler vs growler. Now let’s explore the definitions of crowler and growler:

What is a crowler?

A crowler is a type of container used for storing and transporting craft beer. It is essentially a 32-ounce or 750ml aluminum can that is filled and sealed at a brewery or taproom. 

The name “crowler” is a combination of “can” and “growler.” Crowlers offer a convenient and portable option for beer enthusiasts to take home their favorite brews, ensuring freshness and allowing for easy enjoyment wherever they go.

crowlers vs growlers

What is a growler?

A growler is a reusable container, typically made of glass or stainless steel, used for storing and transporting draft beer. It comes in various sizes, usually ranging from 32 to 64 ounces, and can be filled with beer directly from a tap at a brewery, brewpub, or beer retailer. 

Growlers allow beer lovers to enjoy fresh draft beer at home or share it with friends, providing a sustainable alternative to single-use packaging.

growler vs crowler

Crowler vs Growler: Materials

At this point, we will delve into the difference between crowler and growler. By unraveling their materials, you’ll gain a comprehensive understanding of which option best suits your beer packaging needs.

Crowler materials

Crowlers are primarily made of aluminum. Aluminum cans provide several benefits for beer packaging, such as being lightweight, easy to stack and transport, and offering excellent protection against light and oxygen. 

However, it’s important to consider the environmental impact of aluminum production and disposal.

Growler materials

Growlers come in two common materials: glass and stainless steel. Glass growlers are popular for their aesthetic appeal, allowing consumers to see the beer inside. They are also relatively affordable and widely available. 

Stainless steel growlers, on the other hand, offer durability, insulation, and the ability to keep beer colder for longer periods. They are also more resistant to breakage compared to glass growlers.

Crowler vs Growler Costs

When it comes to considering the costs associated with crowlers vs growlers, there are several factors to take into account. Let’s find out the financial aspects of both options:

Crowler costs

Crowlers are relatively affordable, typically ranging from $9 to $12, depending on the brewery and the type of beer being filled. As a general guideline, the price of a crowler usually consists of a base cost of around $1 to $2, in addition to the price of the beer itself.

Growler costs

Although growlers may have a higher upfront cost, they offer potential long-term savings. An empty growler can be purchased for as little as $6 or as much as $10, depending on the size and material. 

The cost of a refill, which varies depending on the brewery and beer, typically ranges from $5 to $30. Over time, by reusing the same growler and only paying for refills, the overall expense of enjoying fresh beer can be reduced. 

On average, you can expect to spend between $20 and $30 for a new growler filled with beer.

Crowler vs Growler Quality

One crucial aspect to consider when choosing between Crowlers and Growlers is the quality of the beer they can maintain. Let’s delve into the quality factors associated with each option:

Crowler quality

Crowlers are filled and sealed on-site at breweries or taprooms, ensuring that the beer is fresh and of high quality. The aluminum cans provide excellent protection against light and oxygen, which can negatively affect the taste and freshness of beer. 

With proper filling and sealing techniques, crowlers can preserve the flavors and aromas of craft beer, allowing you to enjoy a high-quality drinking experience.

Growler quality

The quality of beer in a growler can vary depending on various factors. Glass and stainless steel growlers can provide a good level of insulation and protection against light and oxygen. 

However, it’s crucial to consume the beer within a reasonable time frame to maintain its freshness. Once a growler is opened, the beer starts to lose its carbonation and flavors. 

Additionally, improper cleaning and storage of growlers can affect the overall quality of the beer.

beer crowler vs growler

Crowler vs Growler Size and Portability

One of the key factors to consider when choosing between crowlers vs growlers is their size and portability. Let’s explore how these two options differ in terms of the amount of beer they can hold and how easy they are to transport:

Crowler capacity and portability

Crowlers are typically designed to hold 32 ounces or 750ml of beer. They offer a convenient and compact size, making them easy to carry for individual consumption or sharing with others. 

Crowlers are lightweight and stackable, allowing for efficient transportation, whether you’re taking them home or to a gathering. But, note that once opened, Crowlers are intended for immediate consumption, as they cannot be resealed.

Growler capacity and portability

Growlers come in various sizes, ranging from 32 to 64 ounces (946 to 1893ml) or even larger. This provides more flexibility in terms of the amount of beer you can transport. 

However, larger growlers can become heavy and bulky, making them less portable compared to crowlers. 

Additionally, glass growlers can be fragile, requiring extra care during transportation to prevent breakage. Stainless steel growlers, on the other hand, offer better durability and insulation while being relatively lightweight.

Crowler vs Growler:  Freshness and Shelf Life

Ensuring the freshness and shelf life of beer is crucial for an enjoyable drinking experience. Both crowlers vs growlers have their own considerations when it comes to preserving the quality of the beer stored within. Let’s take a look at how they differ in terms of freshness and shelf life:

Crowler freshness and shelf life

  • Freshness: Crowlers are generally designed for immediate consumption, meant to be consumed within a few days or up to a week to maintain optimal freshness.
  • Shelf Life: While crowlers can retain freshness for a short period, they are not intended for long-term storage. The beer may experience flavor degradation and loss of carbonation over time.

Growler freshness and shelf life

  • Freshness: Growlers offer a variable freshness timeline depending on factors like the quality of the seal, type of beer, and storage conditions. Ideally, they should be consumed within a few days to a week to enjoy the beer at its best.
  • Shelf Life: Growlers are not ideal for long-term storage. The beer’s quality can deteriorate due to oxidation, loss of carbonation, and bacterial contamination if not consumed within a reasonable time.

Crowler vs Growler: Dispensing Methods

Crowler and growler are two popular methods used for dispensing beer. They differ in terms of size, materials, and dispensing mechanisms.

Crowler dispensing method

  • Container: Sealed, 32-ounce aluminum can.
  • Dispensing: Filled and sealed on-site using a specialized machine.
  • Opening: Requires a can opener or similar tool.

Growler dispensing method

  • Container: Reusable container made of glass, ceramic, or stainless steel.
  • Dispensing: Filled directly from a tap using a fill tube or faucet.
  • Opening: Cap or swing top is removed for pouring.
what is a crowler vs growler

Crowler vs Growler: Durability and Reusability

When comparing crowlers vs growlers, it’s important to consider their durability and reusability. These factors can influence their lifespan and sustainability

Crowler durability and reusability:

Crowlers are designed for single-use and are not intended to be reused. They are made of lightweight aluminum, which offers durability against breakage during transportation. 

However, once opened, the crowler cannot be resealed, limiting its reusability. After enjoying the beer, the empty Crowler can be recycled, contributing to environmental sustainability.

Growler durability and reusability

Growlers, whether made of glass or stainless steel, are designed for multiple uses. Glass growlers, while aesthetically pleasing, are more susceptible to breakage. 

However, with proper handling and care, they can provide a long lifespan. Stainless steel growlers, known for their durability, are highly resistant to breakage and can withstand various conditions. 

Both types of growlers can be washed and reused numerous times, reducing waste and offering a sustainable option for beer enthusiasts.

Crowler vs Growler: Consumer Preferences and Convenience

It’s important to know what people want and how easy crowler vs growler are to use in order to make the right choice for your beer packaging needs. Let’s look at the main points about what people want and how convenient each choice is:

Consumer preferences

  • Crowler popularity and appeal: Crowlers have gained popularity due to their convenience and ready-to-go nature. They appeal to beer enthusiasts who want to enjoy fresh beer without the need for additional equipment or cleaning.
  • Growler popularity and appeal: Growlers have a dedicated fan base among craft beer enthusiasts who appreciate the ability to bring home draft beer and have the flexibility to select different beer varieties each time.


  • Crowler convenience factors: Crowlers are pre-filled and sealed, providing a hassle-free option for those seeking immediate enjoyment or sharing. They eliminate the need for cleaning and maintaining a reusable container.
  • Growler convenience factors: Growlers offer convenience in terms of being reusable and allowing for multiple refills. They are ideal for those who enjoy a variety of beers and want the option to fill up their growler whenever they visit a brewery or taproom.

Crowler vs Growler: Pros and Cons Comparison

Here’s a table comparing the pros and cons of crowler vs growler:

Pros– Convenient and pre-filled– Reusable and environmentally friendly
– No need for cleaning and maintenance– Ability to customize beer selection
– Easy to transport and share– Potential for cost savings through multiple refills
– Sealed container preserves freshness and carbonation– Variety of materials and styles to choose from
Cons– Single-use and not reusable– Requires cleaning and maintenance
– Limited capacity options (typically 32 oz)– Glass growlers can be prone to breakage
– Higher cost per serving compared to bulk beer purchases– Requires planning and filling at the point of purchase
– Limited availability (dependent on brewery or taproom)– Limited shelf life for opened growlers

Tips to Choose Growler vs Crowler

When deciding between a growler and a crowler, consider the following tips to help you make the right choice:

  1. Usage frequency: If you plan to enjoy draft beer frequently and want the option to customize your beer selection, a reusable Growler may be the better choice. If you prefer the convenience of pre-filled containers for immediate consumption or sharing, a single-use Crowler might be more suitable.
  2. Portability: If you prioritize portability and often take beer on the go, Crowlers are lightweight and easily transportable. However, if you primarily consume beer at home or prefer to share larger quantities, a Growler’s larger capacity might be more advantageous.
  3. Freshness and shelf life: Consider how quickly you plan to consume the beer. Crowlers, with their sealed containers, provide better protection against oxygen and can help maintain beer freshness for a longer period. Growlers, on the other hand, should be consumed more quickly to preserve carbonation and flavor.
  4. Environmental impact: If sustainability is a priority for you, reusable growlers are a more eco-friendly option as they reduce single-use waste. Crowlers, being single-use containers, generate more waste, but aluminum is highly recyclable.
  5. Brewery policies: Check the policies of your favorite breweries or taprooms. Some establishments may only offer crowlers, while others may have a wide selection of beers available for filling growlers. Knowing the options available to you can help inform your decision.
  6. Personal preference: Consider your own preferences and beer-drinking habits. Do you enjoy the ritual of filling and using a reusable container? Or do you prefer the convenience of grab-and-go crowlers? Your personal preferences and lifestyle will play a significant role in your decision.

By considering these tips, you can make an informed choice between growlers and crowlers that aligns with your specific needs and preferences when it comes to enjoying craft beer.

difference between crowler and growler


Can I clean and sanitize a Crowler or a Growler easily?

Yes, both crowlers and growlers can be cleaned and sanitized easily. Crowlers are single-use, so cleaning is not required. For Growlers, rinse the container with hot water immediately after use and use a mild detergent to clean the interior. Rinse thoroughly and allow it to air dry before use.

Can I take a Crowler or a Growler on a picnic or to a party?

Absolutely! Both crowlers vs growlers are portable options for enjoying beer on the go. They are great for picnics, parties, and outdoor gatherings where you want to share and enjoy fresh draft beer.

Which option is more cost-effective: Crowlers or Growlers?

Generally, Growlers are considered more cost-effective in the long run. While Crowlers offer convenience, they are single-use and may have a higher per-serving cost compared to refilling a reusable Growler multiple times.

Can I get a discount on beer if I bring my own Growler to a brewery?

Many breweries offer discounts when you bring your own Growler for refilling. It’s worth checking with the specific brewery or taproom as their policies may vary.

Are Crowlers more convenient than Growlers?

Crowlers are considered more convenient as they come pre-filled and sealed, ready for immediate consumption or sharing. Growlers require filling at the point of purchase and may require cleaning and maintenance.

Can I carbonate beer in a Growler?

It is not recommended to carbonate beer directly in a Growler. Carbonation can create pressure buildup, leading to potential issues with the container. It’s best to carbonate beer in a keg or other appropriate carbonation equipment.

Can I get carbonated beer in a Crowler?

Yes, you can get carbonated beer in a Crowler. The Crowler is filled directly from the tap, capturing the beer’s carbonation and ensuring it stays carbonated until it’s opened.

Can I reuse a Crowler if it’s properly cleaned and sanitized?

Crowlers are designed for single-use and cannot be resealed once opened. They are not intended for reuse. It’s best to recycle empty Crowlers.

Do Growlers affect the taste of beer compared to Crowlers?

Both Growlers and Crowlers can preserve the taste of beer if used and stored properly. However, improper cleaning, sealing, or storage can impact the flavor and freshness of the beer in either container.

Are there any health or safety concerns associated with using Crowlers or Growlers?

As long as crowlers vs growlers are properly cleaned and maintained, there are no significant health or safety concerns. It’s important to follow proper hygiene practices and store them in a cool place to prevent bacterial growth.


In the epic battle of Crowler vs Growler, I’ve come to appreciate the unique qualities and experiences that each brings to the table. I’ve found that the Crowler shines with its convenience and freshness, making it a fantastic choice for those seeking a single-serve, on-the-go option. On the other hand, the Growler has captured my heart with its charm and reusability, allowing for a more personalized and eco-friendly beer experience. Ultimately, the choice between the Crowler and Growler boils down to individual preferences, circumstances, and the desired social setting. So, whether you’re a Crowler enthusiast or a Growler aficionado, there’s no denying that both have a place in the ever-evolving world of craft beer. Cheers to enjoying your favorite brew in the perfect vessel, be it a Crowler or a Growler!