In the summer of 2011, we found ourselves embarking on a variety of adventures that were all improved by the presence of beer. As a small brewery, however, we don’t have a bottling or canning line at our disposal just yet. The only way beer could make it out of our tap room was via glass growler or keg, neither of which are ideally suited for boating, hiking, biking, or camping, unless you’re extra cruel to a dog or pack mule.
That was the genesis of our search for the middle ground — a beer vessel that could accommodate fills and refills, and come along for the ride, wherever that might be. We solicited samples from several vendors and went to work on the hard part — testing. Beer came with us to softball games, concerts, and tubing trips, in a variety of steel containers. Ultimately, we settled on the stainless steel 64oz container from Hydro Flask. The main selling points for us were the fact that it lived up to the “keeps cold cold for 24 hours” hype; has a lifetime warranty; and takes a beating without any noticeable differences in performance. We had some concerns with the durability of the caps (and their ability to hold carbonation), because as far as we could tell, these things hadn’t been used much for beer — yet. Our Hydro Flask rep was very helpful, and assured us that the containers could hold up to the high standards of our industry. Guaranteeing extra caps didn’t hurt either. So, we bit the $3,000 bullet and ordered up 96 stainless steel beauties, complete with our logo and the government’s admonishment about alcohol.
Once ordered, customer anticipation was rapid, and our first units sold out within a matter of weeks. The vessel has now become a permanent fixture at our tap room, and we’re excited to see them being gradually adopted by other microbreweries. Other companies are developing stainless options as well — but we’ve yet to find one that combines all the benefits of the Hydro Flask.
The jury on the relative carbon footprint of glass versus stainless is still out. However, stainless certainly lasts longer, is easier to clean, has uses other than beer (but who would do that?!), and is 100% recyclable. Arguably, emissions are also saved by keeping the growler out of the fridge!
*We order these in limited quantities because of the high price point, so be sure to call or e-mail ahead if you’re making a special trip for one.