growler21 Dec 2005
Here’s a interesting post on the etymology of the term “growler” – as in the half-gallon jug you can take home beer in:
Brander Matthews wrote about it in Harper’s Magazine in July 1893: “In New York a can brought in filled with beer at a bar-room is called a growler, and the act of sending this can from the private house to the public-house and back is called working the growler”.
It was also called rushing the growler, since perhaps these children were often in a hurry. Teenagers could make good money and get a free lunch if they would show up at the factories and pick up the workers’ beer pails to get them filled at the taverns. They would sometime use a long pole in order to carry a quantity of pails to refill on one trip. Another possible explanation for using the term ‘rushing’ the growler.
I don’t know how true it is, but it makes a lot of sense. For a long time (embarassingly long), I lamented that there was no easy way to get beer to take home if you lived downtown without driving somewhere. (God forbid I get in my car and drive 12 blocks to the Exxon.) Well, my salvation and my doom have both been discovered in the bottom a growler of Pilsner from Big River. Yes, after many years, a lightbulb finally flickered on above my head, and it occurred to me that if I want beer, maybe the giant brewery 100 yards from my apartment might be the place to get it.
Yes, Big River, like any other microbrew, sells take-home growlers. $7.50 for 64oz of beer. Is it a bad sign when you start measuring your beer consumption in gallons? Debilitating alcoholism, here I come!!