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Three Pint Stance - 2017 Holiday Beer Gifting: Vol. 1 - The Don’ts

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Welcome to the Three Pint Stance Guide to Holiday Beer Gifting! In this two-part series, I’ll be going over the dos and don’ts of holiday gift giving for the beer lover in your life. It can be difficult to navigate the waters of the craft beer hobby if you don’t know much about beer in the first place, but this guide should help you sail those waters successfully and arrive in the safe harbor of Perfect Gift…land.

Anyway, let’s begin with things you SHOULDN’T give the beer lover in your life. Some of these may seem like good ideas (and some of them I may have even mentioned in the past), but we learn as we get older, right?


I have warned of the perils of gifting growlers before. Growlers are sometimes the only way to take beer home from a local brewery, and the urge to gift beer from your local suds-factory can be hard to ignore at times. I always caution against gifting full growlers because the timeline for consumption is just too unforgiving.

Any growler filled at the tap should really be consumed within 48 hours of filling it. I know some places say one week, some others even claim you can get up to two weeks out of a full growler left in the fridge. I won’t say those people are wrong, but I will say that there is no way they are ALWAYS right.

Growlers are just fussy; to avoid the regretful situation of gifting someone flat beer, stay away from the growler. If you must gift a growler, I suggest that you gift an empty growler with a gift certificate attached to cover the cost of the first fill. At the end of the day, opt for profiled bottles or cans if available. Beer from bottling or canning lines is better suited to stand up to the temperature and time fluctuations that go with being in a gift bag for an unspecified amount of time. 

(If you need one more reason to skip the growler as a gift, honestly, we all have a basement full of empty growlers that get no use at this point. Do your part to help stave off Beer Hoarding Syndrome!)

Stainless Steel Growlers

While we are on the topic of growlers, let’s touch on something that’s kind of a bummer.

If you are searching online for a gift for the beer lover in your life, you might stumble across a stainless-steel growler. Multiple companies make these neat containers that are made to replace your typical glass growler. The stainless-steel growlers are better quality, easier to keep clean and block 100 percent of light from affecting the beer. They are awesome and I think everyone should have one.

That being said … DON’T BUY ONE OF THESE AS A GIFT!!!

The State of Maine does not allow any brewery to fill a growler that doesn’t have their state-approved label printed on it. So, an unbranded stainless-steel growler can’t be filled at any brewery in Maine unless they have a pre-approved sticker they can stick to your growler, and I don’t know of any breweries that have that ready to go. As I said, it’s a bummer, but that’s the law as it stands and I don’t know of any efforts afoot to change it.

You can buy a stainless-steel growler at your favorite brewery if they sell them with their logo printed on it, but you will only be able to use it at that brewery. So be aware of that weird legal caveat.

‘Beers of the World’ MixPack

I haven’t seen these as much over the years, but I still want to warn you against them. These “Beers of the World” or “Beers of (Insert Location Here)” multi-pack boxes usually contain four or five 16-22oz bottles all claiming to be a different style of beer from around the world. Don’t be fooled - these beers are all from the same brewery and usually taste like garbage.

These holiday items are usually just churned out at a contract-brewing facility and sold for big profit at grocery stores in the hopes that you will see them and go, “Mike likes beer and I’ve never heard of those ones, I’ll get that for him.”

Don’t do that. Mike doesn’t want those. Go to your local brewery and get him a four-pack of cans and a hat.

(NEXT WEEK: The Dos! More fun and less preachy! Stay tuned!)


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