Growler Washer 101 – 3 Ways on How to Clean a Growler

Growler is a container used to transport and store beer that is typically bought from a brew-pub or brewery. They’re usually made from glass, stainless steel or ceramic materials, which preserve beer for some time with minimal degradation.

The term “growler” originated in the late 1800s as a result of kids handling beer. The grandpa or dad of the household would usually send the child down to bring a cold bucket of beer. If the kid wasn’t careful and splashed the beer out of the pail, the grandfather was said to “growl.”

In the 1920s, prohibition was near to eliminate the growler, but after a short interruption, its omnipresence back after 1933.

In the 1950s and ‘60s, growlers got a modern appearance. Metal buckets were swapped for waxed cardboard containers, like food buckets. Soon by the late 1960s, bars were able to sell packaged beer in plastic buckets, rendering their metal and cardboard predecessors obsolete. After that, the concept of growler “vanish.”

Without one family microbrewing operation in Wyoming in the 1980s, folks might have never re-embraced these large-format pans.

Charlie Otto is the founder of Grand Teton Brewing, Wyoming’s first modern microbrewery. He needed a way to sell his draft beer to go. Charlie used a silkscreen device to fuse his logo onto half-gallon glass cider jugs to-go, and the modern beer growler was born. It was Charlie’s dad idea, who suggested the growler at a time when Charlie didn’t have a clue what it was.

According to the Brewers Association, there are 3,182 microbrewers and 2,152 brewpubs in the United States. That’s impressive number with permanent opening of new microbrewers and brewpubs. And for all that army of growlers, you need a right wash, rinse and sanitization care.

The best way to get a clean and sanitized growler is to use a growler washer automatic machine.

How to Clean a Growler

You’re responsible for caring of growlers to make sure consumer have a great and safe experience with each sip of beer. It doesn’t matter what beer you fill a growler with, you’re guaranteed to have a poor quality beer if you don’t clean bottle correctly. Read these 3 cleaning methods carefully to get an adequately washed growler.

DIY Method

  • Keep growler cold until you have time to clean it. Limit bacteria’s ability to take hold, store the growler in the fridge or cooler until you have a few minutes to wash it.
  • Make sure tap is clear and hot, then fill and rinse growler about three times. Empty the growler. This should eliminate anything that starts to develop in a growler.
  • Let the bottle to sit upside down and air dry completely. A damp growler can protect bacteria, but a dry growler won’t.
  • Don’t lid growler once it has been cleaned. Lidding the bucket result the stagnant air, which could cause bacteria growth. Circulation of air will minimize that risk.

3 Compartment Sink Method

For this cleaning action you’ll need the following equipment:

You must fill half of the growler with hot water. Brush the inside of the bottle thoroughly so you can get a good clean rinse. Pour everything back again in a sink. And repeat the process with cold water. Switch it around, make sure you get everything cleaned out. Then immerse bottle in sanitizer. When you finished the sanitization process, allow it to dry entirely by placing bottle upside-down on a drying rack.

Beer Bottle Washer Method

Beer Bottle Wash MachineWith CMA 180 Automatic Washer troubles with cleaning of beer bottles are history. It’s two machines in one – wine washer and beer bottle washer. If you need to switch this Energy Star appliance into a beer bottle washer, just remove the lower wash and rinse arms and replaced with the special designed wash/rinse adapters.

The device cleans 50 racks per hour and includes built-in 5.3kW, 40-degree rise booster heater. A machine uses .65 gallons by the rack and need only 2 minutes to finish wash cycle. It’s ideal machine for brewpubs. Appliances sizes are: width 24″, depth 25″ and height 33 ¼ inches.

The standard Bottle Washer Rack includes 9 compartments, holding up to 6″ diameter bottles. The rack height is chosen by the size of the growler.

CMA hi-temp sanitizing bottle washer rack is reliable for washing and disinfecting all shapes and sizes of bottles. This concept is perfect for microbreweries. The racks are placed with a spray manifold system that puts a well-positioned spray jet inside the neck of each growler.

How to Fill a Growler

There are 2 main techniques of filling growler: bottom up-filling and CO2 filling.

Bottom Up-Filling

It’s imperative for brewpubs staff to fill the growler adequately. Before filing growler with liquid always triple rinse the hose. After that, heat up the vinyl line with hot water. Just slide tube on the faucet. The more growler hose is used, the easier is to connect.

Then open faucet all the way up and draft the beer into the growler. Turn faucet off, pull a hose out and remove from the faucet and top it off. Seal the growler with the cap and use electrical tape for good firm wrap, pull it off and, voila.

Co2 Filling (Counter Pressure)

Counter pressure CO2 filler reduce growler with the amount of oxygen. This method works by purging the oxygen out of the growler before it’s filled. This action prevents beer from becoming oxidized, which will give a consumer more time to drink beer before it becomes moldy.


Growler Safety and Cleaning Tips

Growlers come in various sizes, shapes, and materials. The most typical are glass-based, but stainless steel and ceramic growlers are also popular solutions. It doesn’t matter what kind of growler you have, just keep it clean. Follow these safety and cleaning tips on how to clean growler efficiently.

Safety Tips

  • No matter what type of jug is used, consumers and filling establishments must be aware that all growlers are pressurized containers. The growler container must be able to withstand the pressures performed by carbonated beer as well as the growler filling process,
  • Glass growlers with engravings are unsafe to fill.
  • To avoid shattered glass or an explosion, don’t let the growler to warm or freeze. These processes boost pressure, especially if the growler is over-filled.

Cleaning Tips

  • Cleaning detergents shouldn’t be fat or oil-based,
  • Proper detergent proportions should be used to ensure thorough cleaning as well as avoid residual chemicals,
  • Growlers should be cleaned, sanitized, rinsed and allowed to air dry immediately after emptying,
  • After washing, growlers should be stored with the cap unsealed.

Glass GrowlerGrowler Types

There are 3 standard types of glowers: glass, ceramic, and stainless-steel growler.

Glass Growler

This is the most popular type of growlers. They are widely available. They can be found both as a clear and amber glass. One of the advantages of using a glass growler is that they visible inside. This helps during the filling process. The main disadvantage of glass growlers is that they’ll crack, chip if they’re not handled carelessly. Because of their fragility, they may not be the right growler for on the-go.

Ceramic GrowlerCeramic Growler

It’s a popular style of a growler, but one that is a bit harder to find and, typically, more expensive. Aesthetically, they look superb, but they’re heavy to carry around and difficult to clean.

Because, they’re not visible inside, it’s difficult for filling and cleaning operation. They have a high potential to shatter or break if dropped or handled carelessly.

Stainless Steel Growler

Stainless Steel beer GrowlerStainless steel growler is easy to carry around and unlikely to break if it’s accidentally dropped. Its build will isolate beer while keeping it colder for much longer time than any other type of growler. If a consumer is going on a camping or hanging out, then a stainless-steel growler would be the great choice.

They’re durable for on-the-go drinking and keeps beer cool for a long time. The cons of stainless-steel growlers are that brewer owner or staff can’t see inside them which make it harder to fill and clean.

Growler Caps

Growler caps are an essential part of glowers. Most smallmouth glass growlers have a metal screw-on cap with a thin foam layer inside. Getting these lids clean enough for re-use is very difficult. A poor seal or bacterial infection from an unclean lid could damage full growler of beer and isn’t worth the risk.

If you aren’t a fan of the environmental aspect of discarding caps, polycarbonate caps are also available. These are easier to clean and won’t rust over time like the metal lids. Also, store growlers with the cap off to keep anything from accumulating in the empty bottle.

CMA 180 Automatic WasherChem Mark, Inc. – Cleaning & Sanitizing Dishwashers

Chem Mark, Inc. sells, lease, and rent, CMA & ADS commercial dishwashers and equipment for microbrewers and brewpubs, restaurants, health-care facilities, and other food-business in the area of Los Angeles, Riverside, Orange County, and San Diego.

Our lease deals include Chem Mark, Inc. chemicals for high and low-temp commercial appliances.

Call us at (714)784-5522 and get the best offer for your brewery or brewpub.