Beer and wine emporiums D’Vines in Columbia Heights and De Vinos in Adams Morgan are no longer filling and selling growlers of beer to go. On Saturday, an official from the D.C. Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration (ABRA) told manager George Aguilar that the filling of sealed containers was permitted only for businesses with a manufacturer’s Class D license—-not a retailer’s license.
The website he created, dcgrowlers.com, now has the following message:
“Dear followers, On Saturday Evening [sic] DC ABRA informed the retailers that current licensing does not permit the fill of growlers. As of now, we will no longer be able to do such. We will keep our fingers crossed and keep you updated for the future. We apologize for any inconvenience and/or tease this may have caused.”
In addition to building a website to promote his growler program, Aguilar had plans to install additional draft lines in both locations. He will be able to continue using his current taps for tastings, but the 600 printed glass bottles he has coming in this week will have to sit in storage, at least for the time being.
“I’m not giving up on it yet,” he told me. “It’s been a beautiful thing. The support and demand has been really impressive. People seem to be into the environmentally friendly aspect of buying growlers. The prices are great but that part will probably be the biggest let down.”
Aguilar plans to get in contact with legal counsel to see what can be done to amend the licensing language for District retailers. “I am not sure how possible that will be. Perhaps I will try working with some type of environmental group. I haven’t really explored much into it yet,” Aguilar says.
Thankfully for growler fans, ABRA’s current ruling does not apply to every D.C. location that has been filling up the half-gallon jugs for area brewhounds in recent months.
Local brewery DC Brau is one. Because the brewery holds a manufacturer’s license, co-founder Brandon Skall assured me that the local suds maker’s tasting room will be open for filling hours this Saturday from 1 to 4 p.m. as usual.
Photo by Tammy Tuck