The new Whole Foods here in Charlottesville has done a remarkable job of increasing the amount of foods and other items they offer in bulk. This seems like a great return to one of the old traditions of the health food store and co-op, where bulk foods were a key reason one shopped there.
Yesterday, much to my delight, I discovered that Whole Foods is also selling draft beer in take-home bottles called growlers. Growlers are an old-fashioned way to convey beer. I read somewhere that the name comes from the hiss of the escaping carbonation when you open it. (If you know where the name comes from, or you have your own theories, please contribute in the comments.) Normally growlers are 2L (or 67 oz.) sized glass jugs that look like they come out of some moonshine distillery. The local Whole Foods has a jug-shaped 64 oz. growler with a screw top, and a 32 oz. bottle-shaped one with a swing top, both on sale for $3.99. Of course you are also welcome and encouraged to bring your own. They feature eight different beers on tap, which they rotate. According to this NY Times article, the Whole Foods store on Houston St. in New York City, the first to offer these vessels to its customers back in 2007, reports that sales of growlers now make up half the beer store’s business.
For myself I opted for the smaller 32 oz. bottle (I already have a 2L one as well), filled with Blue Mountain Brewery’s Brewmaster Double IPA, a delicious and local beer FTW.