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Are Growlers Legal?

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bluedoors

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I had an interesting discussion the other day around the legality of Growlers. Obviously they are a growing trend, and it is great for craft brewers and lovers of craft beer alike, but most places i've seen dispense don't do so in a legal way.

If the gowlers were filled and in the fridge, they would fall under 'pre-packaged goods', and as long as the labeling was correct it would be fine

http://www.measurement.gov.au/TradeMeasure...kagedGoods.aspx

But gowlers are a re-fill concept, so don't fall under the category. If we look at the guidelines for the sale of alcohol

http://www.measurement.gov.au/trademeasure...es/alcohol.aspx

"The sale of beer, stout and ale dispensed from taps must be made by a volume measurement in metric units. Beer, ale and stout must be sold in approved, batch-tested glassware or batch-tested acrylic containers marked in millilitres (mL), or litres (L)"

So this would also be fine if they were accurately filled, eg by having scales under the growler and filling by weight (but then you would need to know the density of each craft beer), or if growlers were approved glassware and there was a way of accurately measuring the fill volume.

My Growler (from Hop Dog) is marked in US units in the glass (although does say 1.89L on the label), and has no fill line (although one could assume it is the top). So this wouldn't qualify.

I'd be interested in others thoughts? Are Growlers legal? Is any growler seller working with the authorities to find a solution?
 

sean_0

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I recently had a conversation with a reasonably well known microbrewer who said that they are a bit dodgy from a legal standpoint. I was asking if his brewery was planning to do growlers and he said he wasn't happy with the legal situation and wouldn't be doing them unless it became clearer. As far as he was concerned it was only legal for him to sell 50L kegs and pre-packaged bottles.
 

Bats

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I say, let the Breweries and distributors worry about the Legal aspects of selling Growlers.

What you don't know, can't hurt you.
 

bigfridge

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The Tax department is apparently getting interested in the excise being evaded ie beer leaves brewery in 50 litre keg at a lower rate of excise and repackaged into a container holding less than 48 litres which should paay excise at a higher rate.

But the main question - is the filling of a growler re-packaging or simply serving the beer just like filling a schooner ?

The ATO says that repackaging is the same a smanufacturing alcohol - see http://www.ato.gov.au/businesses/content.a...nt/00308494.htm


A number of breweries have approached us about buying new 30 litre kegs so that the higher duty rate is paid by them rather than the bottleshop having to apply for a manufacturers license and handle all the paperwork involved.


Dave
 

gravey

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At Lobethal Bierhaus they are pre-packaged and you simply exchange the bottle - you do not re-fill yourself.
 

NewtownClown

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As you correctly point out, Growlers don't fall under the "pre-packaged" guidelines. Why then do you feel it falls under the "dispensing" guidelines? If Growlers were to be consumed on the premises, those regulations would apply. Growlers are "re-packed", so perhaps need a category of their own or be covered by "pre-packaged".

"Re-packaging" alcohol is covered in terms of excise. I find this to be a greater concern than being a few ml over or under.

From the ATO
The repackaging of bulk beer (that is, the filling of the growlers from a keg) is considered to be manufacture for the purposes of excise.
Beer packaged in containers exceeding 48 litres attracts a lower rate of excise duty than beer in containers not exceeding 48 litres. Some entities were taking advantage of this rate differential by obtaining duty paid bulk beer and repackaging it into containers less than 48 litres. In order to ensure the appropriate rate is paid, section 77FC of the Excise Act provides that if beer in containers exceeding 48 litres is duty paid and subsequently decanted into containers not exceeding 48 litres, the repackaging is taken to be the manufacture of beer. Repackaging beer would not normally constitute 'manufacture' within the ordinary meaning of that term.
Where excise duty has been paid on beer in a container exceeding 48 litres and the beer is subsequently decanted into smaller containers (such as growlers), duty must be paid on the decanted beer at the higher rate applicable to beer packaged in containers not exceeding 48 litres. This second amount of duty would be payable by the entity undertaking the repackaging (such as the hotel, tavern or retailer), and the initial duty paid on the beer is not refundable.
As entities engaged in repackaging duty paid beer in containers exceeding 48 litres into smaller containers are undertaking the manufacture of excisable goods, they are also required under the Excise Act to hold an excise manufacturer licence.

The ATO double dipping. Duty paid on original 48+ litre keg then again on the 2 litre container with no refund

Only way around it is to buy 30 litre kegs where the higher rate has already been applied
 

NewtownClown

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On a side note, why do they separate "beer, stout and ale"?

Because if they just called it beer, smartarses would claim it doesn't apply to the "Ales" or "Stouts" they dispense.
 

tricache

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wouldnt lager and ale cover all beer styles ? i thought stout was an ale? and beer covered everything that is beer :blink: ? except wine and spirits as they are wine and spirits ? pretty simple i thought ?

i must of missed the email about ales and stouts not being beer <_<
:lol: my brain hurts now :blink:
 

Nick JD

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Growlers? Legal?

Half the population has one, so ... yes? :D
 

bluedoors

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I hadn't considered the added pain of excise as well. So seems there are two areas: The ATO and their excise, and Trade Measurement for the legal sale of. I assume the latter would only get involved if their were complaints etc. My local butcher sells marinated shoulders of lamb for $18 rather than by weight (not legal in terms of Trade Measurement), but no one seems to bother.

As to re-packaging. i'm not sure what this comes under in terms of Trade Measurement. I guess it would be like selling loose nuts, and would need to be weight or measure.
There use to be (might still be) a store in the QVB in Sydney that would sell Olive Oils, and flavoured alcohols. This would probably have the same issue?
 

yum beer

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What about the problem of being able to take opened alcohol containers off the premises.
You buy the growler to 'take away' but it is not sealed and as such should be consumed on the premises.
F.. knows how the alcohol free zones would impact, again its an open container in a area you cant have them.
Thank christ the cops are too busy chasing drugo's and thieves.
 

Jay Cee

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Good points were raised in regards to being a packaged product, and therefore attracting a higher exise. However if growlers are considered a dispensed food (such as being pured a schooner in the pub) then how can you be allowed to leave the premises with it ?

In regards to legal fill requirements, I thought you could only take the growler specific to the establishment back for refills. Can anyone comment on this if they have taken otehr pubs' growlers to be recharged?

The cops might be too busy to chase this up, but one day the ATO and the Liqour Licencing love this sort of shit. Maybe we should all stop talking about it, and enjoy our moonshine growler bottles in private. :icon_drunk:
 

NewtownClown

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Good points were raised in regards to being a packaged product, and therefore attracting a higher exise. However if growlers are considered a dispensed food (such as being pured a schooner in the pub) then how can you be allowed to leave the premises with it ?

In regards to legal fill requirements, I thought you could only take the growler specific to the establishment back for refills. Can anyone comment on this if they have taken otehr pubs' growlers to be recharged?

The cops might be too busy to chase this up, but one day the ATO and the Liqour Licencing love this sort of shit. Maybe we should all stop talking about it, and enjoy our moonshine growler bottles in private. :icon_drunk:
Bit of a Growler "shortage", at least in Sydney, at the moment. I am sure brewers don't care about the origin of the container, just happy to see their product selling. I know one outlet actually used "crowd sourcing" to fund the purchase of new growlers due to a shortage

The ATO are already on to it and have published fact sheets specifically. The question lies with compliance, how many venues (bottle shop, bar etc) are actually charging the extra excise if repackaging from 50 litre kegs (or, as the ATO calls it, REMANUFACTURING)

This is ALL Little Johnny Howard's fault...
He promised beer over the bar would not be more expensive under GST. In order to meet that promise, he needed to **** around with the excise.
Must have been a "core" promise
 

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