The growlers are coming.
Shortly after Dunwoody City Council approved an ordinance allowing the sale of the glass containers for packaging craft beers, a specialty beer shop is scheduled to open in Dunwoody Village in mid-June.
Eleanor Benson, owner of Moon Dog Growlers, said she was waiting for the legal framework to be set by the city so she could open a Dunwoody location of the store, which is currently open in Marietta.
“I live here and had always wanted to open one here,” Benson said.
Benson is not alone. Dunwoody’s Economic Development Director Michael Starling said he has heard a lot of interest in growlers since the ordinance was passed.
“We don’t have any numbers we can track and no one else has come in for a permit, but I’d say we’ve had half a dozen calls about growlers since the ordinance was completed,” Starling said. “We’ve had a lot of interest in our commercial areas. The [Dunwoody] Village, the Georgetown area- a lot of people have asked about that area.”
Growlers are glass containers, typically holding two or four pints, that are used in the sale of craft beers. Many craft brews are only available in kegs, so growlers are a way to package the beers so customers can take them home.
The city of Dunwoody had to amend its laws because the city’s alcohol regulations were written before craft beers became popular and didn’t address growlers. The city approved the sale of growlers for businesses with full-service kitchens and from stores that get 75 percent of their sales from beer and wine. The ordinance excludes package stores that sell liquor.
The rules were written under the city’s alcohol pouring license, rather than package sales, to allow tasting at businesses that sell growlers.
“We talked to a handful of growler entrepreneurs and asked them what they wish they could do that they can’t do now. The universal answer was, ‘we wish we could give half-ounce or one-ounce samples before they buy it because it’s usually an unusual craft beer that they’ve never had before,’” Mayor Mike Davis said.
Davis said he believes the way Dunwoody’s growler ordinance is written gives the city an advantage. “As far as I know we’re the only city that’s doing it that way,” he said.
Starling said he expects other businesses may start selling growlers soon, too.
“I would be surprised if we don’t have a few [applications]sometime this year, just from the number of people that have called,” Starling said.
Though he doesn’t see growler sales as a major economic boon for the city, opening the door for new businesses is always good, Starling said.
“We’ll see the longevity of this — is it a fad, a trend? Or is it going to be part of the long-term sales of beer?” Starling said. “Even if only one business opens, it will have a positive impact.”
Davis, a beer lover who brews his own beer at home, said he has seen the popularity of craft beer rise over the last decade. He thinks Dunwoody is ready for a wider variety of beers.
“The small sample of people I’ve talked to are very interested in trying new things,” he said.