California is a land of plenty. With access to some of the most fertile land, precious natural resources and gorgeous national parks in the world, the Golden State is steeped in richness. It’s also a place where people tend to value the stewardship of such things. The modern environmentalist movement gained serious traction on the West Coast. Stringent vehicle emission laws were first introduced here as was the exceedingly popular farm-to-table dining trend. In November, California will likely become the first state in the union to mandate the labeling of genetically-modified foods.
All of these realities make it increasingly difficult to understand why the same state that allows you to buy marijuana at a local corner shop, forbids craft beer enthusiasts from filling growlers at any nearby beer store. According to section 25200 of the California Business and Professions Code, “No manufacturer, importer, or wholesaler of beer shall use a container or carton as a package or container of a beer other than such beer as is manufactured by the manufacturer whose name or brand of beer appears upon the container or carton.”
In plain English, this means that you’re free to pick up a growler from any brewery, but only that particular brewery may fill and refill it. This arcane law isn’t just at odds with many other states across the country–most of which allow the filling of said vessels without restriction–it’s also profoundly unfriendly to our environment. Think about how much unnecessary packaging goes into single-use craft beer bottles that could be eliminated by encouraging this rapidly-growing community to reuse receptacles? And it’s a practice which they already resoundingly prefer to begin with!
It’s time for a simple change in California. Thankfully the state makes direct democracy possible with their infamous annual ballot initiatives. If you believe that such a common sense measure should make it to the polls next year, spread the word: LEGALIZE GROWLERS!