A friend and I were plotting and scheming yesterday regarding an upcoming growler release of Crown Valley’s nearly impossible to get Imperial Pumpkin Smash at Fishpaws Marketplace in Arnold, Md. This is a big deal because I consider myself to be in a deeply emotional and fully-committed relationship with this beer. Like, if this were the 50s, I’d absolutely give this beer my letter jacket and ask it to go steady.
Anyway, while we were chatting, my friend asked: “Can I bring my own growler to get filled, or do I need to buy a growler at Fishpaws?”
This is a great question, especially since I have spent the majority of my beer-drinking career in Washington, D.C., and Alexandria, Virginia, where many places will fill up any growler I bring, as long as it meets certain requirements — having a screw-top, as an example.
Well, this question prompted me to do some research on the topic, because I had absolutely no clue what the answer was. So I queued up the Unsolved Mysteries theme song, rolled up my sleeves and got ready for some serious investigative journalism… by opening up Google.
Here’s what I found out:
As some of you may or may not know, the answer in Anne Arundel County is pretty simple: No, you may not bring your own growlers in to be filled. The law says that retailers who have a “Refillable Container License” must provide containers that are not only sealable and between 32 and 182 ounces, but also “branded with the identifying mark of the license holder.” Meaning Fishpaws can only fill and refill Fishpaws growlers.
So there you have it, folks! The more you know, etc.
Update: Apparently, there might be a widespread case of misinterpretation regarding this issue — brought to my attention by the fabulous Nathan of the Annapolis Homebrew Club. Look for an update soon, as I do a bit more research and chat with the bill sponsor in Annapolis. I may have some good news for you all!