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05.2013

Massachusetts Beverage Business

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archivedOnWineReport

GROWLERS OF WINE

Over the last few years, the beer growler concept has become extremely popular. So if it’s good for beer drinkers, why not wine lovers? Well in Oregon it now is. The state Senate recently voted unanimously to let wineries, restaurants, grocery stores and wine shops dispense wine in consumer-supplied growlers of up to two gallons. Winemakers say they’re always looking for new ways to market the products of a growing Oregon business, adding that growlers save a lot of glass and cork. “It is really environmentally friendly, and it’s also promoting wine as a daily commodity that can be enjoyed with meals and shouldn’t be thought of as something extraordinarily special every time,” said Wynne Peterson-Nedry, the winemaker at Chehalem Winery in Newberg. Chehalem already offers growler fills at its tasting room. The legislation will allow its customers to fill their growlers at restaurants and grocery stores. Oregon has about 9OO vineyards; many are small operations that have trouble competing for limited space on store shelves. The measure would give the small local businesses another way to get their wine in front of consumers. Some wineries already distribute wine in kegs, which restaurants use to sell by the glass. The legislation requires the wine to be dispensed by someone with a valid service license from the Oregon Liquor Control Commission. As with beer growlers, the wine container will have to be securely covered before it’s returned to the customer. The governor planned to sign the bill, effective immediately. That will happen in time for winemakers to promote growlers during Oregon Wine Month in May.

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