California, MD — A St. Mary’s County liquor store has received the first permit to sell “growlers’ in the county. The St. Mary’s County Alcohol Beverage Board (liquor board) on Sept. 11 approved a “Refillable Container Permit” for ABC Liquors in Hickory Hills Shopping Center in California.

Growlers are refillable containers that allow patrons to carry beer from a bar to their home. They are legal in Calvert County and will become legal on October 1 in St. Mary’s, the first day that ABC will be able to sell them. The store is already selling their personalized 64-ounce growler containers and is getting in a 32-ounce variety.

A customized growler dispenser will be installed on Wednesday in the store near the cash register. The dispenser fills the container with draft beer and then caps it with carbon dioxide to prevent it from going flat. The container is then sealed with a cap. The system is intended to prevent patrons from sampling the beer on the way home.

When the liquor board approved growlers several members had expressed concern about the possibility of the in-car sampling, but it was eventually decided to go with the new regulations and see how things went. The Maryland General Assembly two years ago passed enabling legislation to allow counties to adopt their own regulations for growlers.

Patrons of the Ruddy Duck in Solomons have had the option of purchasing growlers for quite some time. One regular patron of the Ruddy Duck said he purchases some of their unique beers to take home with him to consume during football games. He said the beer stays fresh for a couple of days. He can get five of six glasses from a growler.

Growler users are encouraged to wash out their containers before bringing them back for refills. Some people collect the unique growler containers. Unusual designs can be purchased online.

ABC owner Gary Rogow said his establishment will be limiting the growler purchases to refilling of ABC’s own containers and not others, at least initially. He said that would give them greater control over the situation.

There was little comment on the first growler permit, other than Board Chairman Moses Saldana saying, “You might know that ABC would be the first to do it.”

About the new dispensing machine, Rogow invited the board members to “stop by and see it.”