Beginning as early as the late 1800's, tin pails, pitchers, glass jars or jugs, or other vessels were used to carry beer home from the local pub. The most common was a 2-quart galvanized or enameled pail. These “growlers” supposedly got their name because as the beer sloshed around, it caused the carbon dioxide to escape and created a growling noise.
In the 1920's with the Prohibition, in some communities laws were passed to outlaw the growler entirely.
By the 1950's, the tin pail had been phased out and waxed cardboard containers with lids were being used. These looked like a cross between a milk jug and a takeout Chinese soup container. By the 1960's, however, most bars had switched to plastic and were allowed to sell pre-packaged beer after hours, so the concept of the growler slowly disappeared.
The lack of growlers continued until 1989, when Charlie Otto, owner of Wyoming’s first draft-only microbrewery, Otto Brothers Brewery, wanted to offer draft beer to go, but was not able to bottle the beer. Luckily for Charlie, his father still remembered the use of growlers and suggested that they give that a try. However, the packaging needed to be updated, so Charlie began silk-screening his logo on half-gallon glass jugs, and thus, the growler as we know it today was born!
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