CALIFORNIA “GROWLER” LEGISLATION AWAITS GOVERNOR’S SIGNATURE

A “growler” is a refillable/re-sealable glass container that typically holds a half-gallon of fresh beer. Under current California law, any beer sold in California must be in a container with a label indicating, among other things, the name of the manufacturer and bottler. Manufacturers, importers and wholesalers may not fill or refill any container labeled otherwise. This past month, however, AB 647, a bill that was strongly supported by the California Craft Brewers Association (CCBA), passed the California legislature and, when signed by the Governor, will allow beer manufacturers to refill growlers originally filled and labeled by another brewer, as long as the refilling brewery removes or completely obscures any prior labels and re-labels the growler with its own label, properly identifying the beer. California retailers may only sell growlers originally filled and properly labeled by a licensed beer manufacturer, but may not refill growers under current law. The CCBA believes that a bill may be forthcoming in 2014 to allow on-premise and off-premise retailers to refill growlers.

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