It’s a can, it’s a growler—it’s a crowler. You’re probably thinking, “Hey, I know a lot about beer. Why have I never heard of a crowler?” Well, they are new to Long Island and the only place to snag one is at Great South Bay Brewery in Bay Shore. In fact, there are currently only about 100 operational crowler machines in the United States.
The crowler is, as the name implies, is a hybrid between a can and a growler. Each crowler holds 32 ounces of beer and is freshly filled and sealed on the spot. Unlike a growler, the container is lightweight and made of aluminum, making it portable and easy to bring to outdoor summer events. Each crowler is single use and the shelf life is longer than you would get out of a growler.
Great South Bay Brewery installed their crowler machine about a month ago after filling to-go growlers for the last few years. Of course, growlers are still available for those who aren’t yet looking to make the leap to their can-shaped sibling.
The process is simple. Once you have selected your beer the empty crowler is purged with C02 and then filled with beer, leaving zero head space. A top is then placed on and secured by machine and your 32 oz can is hand labeled. From start to finish the experience only takes a minute or two—no longer than a standard growler fill.
“We love it and our customers love it,” says Phil Ebel of Great South Bay. Crowlers are available at the GSB tasting room during normal business hours.
Photo: Alicia Valeo & Kevin Breslawski