32oz growlers are nothing new. Resealable containers of less than 64oz have been a fixture of many tap rooms and breweries long before 2012. But the Super Bowl changed everything in Indianapolis. Suddenly the requirement to drink beer outdoors created a new market for tap rooms. A market that could not be catered to with an unwieldy 64oz glass jug. Seemingly overnight, every tap room within a stone's throw of downtown was offering 32oz cylindrical containers of beer. Many of them plastic so that drunk party people couldn't turn Georgia Street into a wasteland of shattered glass. Now almost every tap room carries them.
Where did this idea originate?
The Super Bowl didn't create these containers, breweries have been using them for a long time. But who came up with this idea? And more importantly, who came up with the container shape? A trip out to Portland this past spring revealed that the 32oz container was the preferred to-go vessel for Cascade's beer. But how long had they been doing it?
What are they called?
Before the Super Bowl, the name "bullet" seemed quite common. This is almost surely derived from the shape of the container. The term "howler" is also seen frequently. Howler appears to be short for Half Growler, which makes a lot of sense. Other names have been seen around as well, but I don't know if there is a definitive one. What is your preference?
Do you buy them?
The 32oz size seems a lot more practical for high alcohol beers that might be more difficult to drink 64oz of, or perhaps uniquely flavored beers that are good in small quantities but get tiresome after too much. The trade-off of a smaller package is often a higher cost per ounce than that of a growler. Do you see 32oz growlers as a welcome addition to the carry-out beer scene, or were you happier with a single refillable option?