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'Growler' system Dublin pub is quenching lockdown punters' thirsts - thanks to new US craze


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Mark and Paddy get pouring

Mark and Paddy get pouring

Mark and Paddy get pouring

A new drink craze is set to sweep the country with an increasing number of pubs installing a 'Growler' system.

When the first lockdown set in earlier this year and pubs were forced to shut, many set up a take-away system whereby they delivered freshly-pulled pints in plastic containers to customers' doorsteps.

Now that hostelries are closed once again and adverse weather conditions have set it in, publicans have latched onto a new way to compete with off-licences by selling freshly pulled pints.

Growlers are already hugely popular in the US, Canada, Australia and Brazil, where craft-beer is sold and taken home in special glass or ceramic reusable containers.

The term likely dates from the late 19th century when fresh beer was carried from the local pub to one's home by means of a small galvanised pail.

Escaped

It is claimed the sound that the carbon dioxide made when it escaped from the lid as the beer sloshed around sounded like a growl.

There was an initial attempt to start up the system here several years ago, but it never took off.

Leading the field now is Grainger's Pebble Beach pub in Clontarf in north Dublin.

"We installed it just over a week ago and we had queues outside the door and a few hundred orders," explains co-owner Mark Grainger.

"The company which installed it for us, Beer Tech, tells me they've since installed the same system in over 25 other pubs in recent days and orders are flooding in."

The containers come in either one or two litres, which serves two pints or four pints and costs either €12 or €24, which works out at €6 a pint. There is a one-time payment of either €3 or €4 for the reusable container.

"Once it's open and you pour your pint there's a guarantee that when it's resealed and left in the fridge it will last for 33 hours - and you'll still get a perfect head the next time around," claims Mark.

He then explains the procedure.

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"The beer comes out of the barrel, comes through the system, it's double gassed - that's what brings the head on, Then we decompress about half way up to bring the head up in the bottle, then seal it for the customer," he elaborates.

"The beer you buy in a can in an off licence, it won't keep a head. It's flat within 10 minutes," stresses Mark. "But the beer in the growler will keep a head, so it's like drinking a pint from the pub at home.

Flying

"We are still doing the take-away pints and they are flying, they are hugely successful again, because if people fancy a pint of Guinness we can drop it around the area.

"But the growler system only works with lager and craft beers, not with Guinness yet - no doubt Diageo are looking into it as we speak."

Mark first saw the system in operation during a visit to San Francisco a couple of years ago.

"I said to my wife 'that will work here sometime'," he beams. "During the first lockdown I thought of it again and I googled it online and there was a Dublin company doing it and I said 'we'll get them to fit a growler system in'. That was Beer Tech."

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