Growler tastings still bottled up in Forsyth County

Forsyth County considers allowing samples, flexibility on bottles



FORSYTH COUNTY, Ga. — Dan Dixon compares being able to taste beer to the experience of test driving a car. You can read all you want, but cherry and chocolate taste different to each person.

“As much as you can describe beer, having the knowledge, it gives you an idea,” said Dixon, a beer knowledge expert at Crafty Draught in Cumming. “But when you can taste it, it paints a picture. Everything that was described can be true or not true.”

As the Forsyth County Board of Commissioners moves to allow tastings in the county, Dixon knows he will be able to move a lot more specialty growlers because, after all, beer taste is a matter of opinion.

A growler is a 64-ounce glass jug designed to be filled with beer fresh from the tap and taken home for later consumption.

Andre Airich, owner of Crafty Draught, was a pioneer in the county in helping change the alcohol law to allow for the sale of growlers about a year and a half ago.

Airich said that he’s unsure if allowing samples will improve his business in Forsyth County, but he’s ready to open another location in Alpharetta.

In the neighboring cities of Alpharetta and Johns Creek, patrons can already sample the beer before they buy a growler.

Under Forsyth County law, growler stores are licensed as in package stores, so customers are not allowed to sample. In changing the law, county attorney Ken Jarrard said a separate tasting room would be required to allow for samples.

Samples would be of two ounces, and no more than eight ounces per person, per day is allowed. In Alpharetta, businesses are allowed to give three one-ounce samples per person per day and there’s no separate room necessary.

The county’s final approval will take place June 6.

Another major change in the Forsyth County law will be to accommodate for the sale of stainless steel, ceramic or plastic growlers. Currently, only glass is allowed.

“When people take growlers to the lake or a pool or on their boat, this will be good for that,” Airich said of the proposed change.

Growlers are a staple of brew pubs across the U.S. targeting those who prefer the taste of beers with specialty flavors rather than a mass-produced finished product. And as consumers have increasingly moved toward quality, cost and environmental-consciousness, the sales of growlers have boomed.

Crafty Draught’s second location opened May 11 at 4180 Old Milton Parkway in Alpharetta.

Crafty Draught sells about 20 rotating taps and opened across from the Collection at Forsyth in January 2012.

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