The glass and ceramic jugs have become a popular way to buy take-out beer from microbreweries. They typically come in half-gallons and are adorned with a brewery's logo.
When people finish the beer, they can bring them back for a refill. But current law, a legislative analysis says, only permits breweries to refill growlers from their own shop.
Enter Assembly Bill 647.
"The problem is that consumers would like to reuse their containers, not just at the original brewery but to use it to sample beers from many breweries," Assemblyman Wesley Chesbro said in a hearing this week on his bill.
The Arcata Democrat represents a huge swath of northern California that is home to many craft breweries. Among them: Lost Coast, Six Rivers, Anderson Valley, Bear Republic and Russian River, where beer lovers line up for hours at the annual release of the Pliny the Younger IPA.
Chesbro's bill would allow breweries to refill a growler from another brewery by covering the old logo with a sticker reflecting the new beer inside.
"This bill is good for the industry; it's good for our consumers," said Chris Walker, a lobbyist representing the California Craft Brewers Association.
The pleasure of cracking open a cold one appears to be a bipartisan issue: The bill cleared the Assembly Governmental Organization Committee on Wednesday on a unanimous vote.
And instead of the usual "aye" while voting, Republican Brian Jones of Santee said, "Cheers."
PHOTO CREDIT: A bottle, known among beer enthusiasts as a growler, is filled at the Swamp Head Brewery in Gainesville, Fla., on March 29, 2013. California lawmaker Wesley Chesbro wants to make it easier to reuse growlers from one microbrewery when buying beer at another. Brendan Farrington / Associated Press