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Carving a New Niche in Craft Beer

This story appears in the June 2012 issue of Start Up.

Growlers have been used to carry beer since the 1800s, but the methods for filling them have improved drastically since then. And Shelton, Conn.-based beer-to-go concept the Growler Station is bringing the latest growler-filling technology to the U.S.

It all started with customer complaints. Brothers Mark and Bill da Silva, owners of brew pubs in Connecticut, found that their customers were dissatisfied with the quality of their growler system. Mark, the brew master for the pubs (and for the Growler Station), took it upon himself to find a solution. He discovered a promising Russian growler system with a unique filling process that limits the beer's oxygen exposure so it stays fresh for up to two or three months (vs. about three days with a standard filling process).

He and his brother shared the find with John O'Connell and Tony Lane, co-founders of sales and marketing firm S3 Consulting. O'Connell and Lane saw an opportunity for distribution in the U.S. The system was put to the test at one of the brothers' pubs, and the results were impressive: oxygen-free, foam-free, longer-lasting craft beer.

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