THIRSTY Scots with a taste for craft beer have fallen in love with a new way of drinking – from a glass known as a ‘Growler’.
The concept, which originated in America, involves renting a large glass container measuring up to three litres and simply paying for refills.
After paying a £12 deposit, punters can take the glass home and bring it with them for their next visit.
The trend has become so popular that over 5,000 ‘Growlers’ are in circulation in Edinburgh alone.
And now, the company which set up Britain’s first official Growler store are ready to open a new shop – thanks to over £100,000 raised through crowdfunding.
Growler Beers, who opened their pilot store on Morningside Road in Edinburgh two years ago, will launch a second outlet in Leith at the end of the week.
Owner Stuart Dinning said: “It’s an American concept – in the late 1980s/early 1990s the craft beer boom started in America and there was a micro-brewer who couldn’t afford to get his beer to market, so he just decided to buy a load of bottles and then rent them to his customers.
“That’s where the concept of the Growler came from. The term dates back to medieval times when the gas would escape from the top of a bottle when it had a stop in it and it would ‘growl’.
“It started emerging here in Britain about five years ago but we’re the first dedicated Growler store.”
On top of offering customers the opportunity to choose from a range of Growler sizes and wide variety of beers, the concept also offers a more environmentally friendly way to enjoy a drink.
“The idea is to keep taking the rented bottle back to refill with different beers, and it’s very green,” Mr Dinning added.
“We refill your Growlers as you bring them back and all the kegs go back to the breweries where they’re refilled and re-used, so it’s continual recycling.
“I think people find the unique concept and the range of beers appealing. There’s such a drive away from anything mainstream and corporate, that now there’s all these microbreweries popping up.
“Scotland’s got over 100 now, there’s over 1500 breweries in Britain nowadays and so people want that diversity.
“It’s also the freshness that people like, if you compare drinking a beer that’s been packaged six months ago and put on the shelf to our beer that was brewed last week.
“We order on a weekly basis, and are continually completely changing our beers – we’ve had over 400 beers on so far.”
The popularity of the business has become evident through a campaign on crowdfunding website Crowdcube to raise the money needed to open the new branch.
Growler Beers became one of only around 30 businesses to be selected by the site for a funding campaign, and they exceeded the target they had set thanks to contributions from members of the public.
“The main thing with crowdfunding is that you have to bring the crowd with you,” said Mr Dinning.
“ I don’t want the whole 100% of the company, it’s better to have 50% of a multi-national company than 100% of one little shop.
“We raised £107,000. The target was £100,000 and we offered 20% of the company for that, spread throughout the crowd.
“Every person who gave money – from £10 to £40,000 – gets equity in the business.”