Pass the growler bill

Published Mar 31, 2013 at 05:00AM

When State Rep. Paul Holvey, D-Eugene, got up to advocate for his growler bill before the Oregon House voted, nobody challenged him. Nobody voted against it. The Oregon House passed the bill as should the Oregon Senate.

Growlers are refillable containers that customers can bring into stores and fill up with beer.

It can be a cheaper and less wasteful way for beer lovers to enjoy their favorite beverages. It also can make it easier for brewers to offer variety, small brewers to compete and customers to sample those choices.

But under current Oregon law, the use of growlers is primarily for beer. Wine and hard cider growler sales are mostly not permitted — the exception being sales of wine at a winery. Holvey’s bill, House Bill 2443, allows wine and cider growler sales at the same sorts of places that beer growler sales take place.

The same sort of reasonable limits would still apply. The growler containers can’t be larger than two gallons.

They must be securely covered. The seller must also have the appropriate license. That could include grocery stores and restaurants.

Oregon wouldn’t be doing something revolutionary compared with other states. It would be catching up.

Kara Olmo, who is the owner of Wooldridge Creek Vineyard and Winery in Grants Pass, made clear the bottle-saving and cost-saving benefits of the bill during her testimony before a Senate committee. She said a keg holds about 39 bottles of wine, according to The Oregonian. Her wine sells for $26 a bottle. In a growler, she charges $18.

Consumers want this option. The producers and retailers want them to have it. The Oregon Senate should grant it.

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