Naturally, one of us had to go sample the wares at Lakewood on Tap and the Lakewood Whole Foods. So, like the newshound he is, Tim headed down yesterday after work, empty growler in hand, stars in his eyes. What follows is the exchange between him an Whole Foods this morning:
Tim to Whole Foods: “I was all excited last night about swinging by the Lakewood store with my growler and getting it filled up, until I realized I got screwed. I paid $14 (w tax) to fill my own growler (64 oz) with Dog Fish 60 Minute. That’s roughly 22 cents per ounce. Now then. A six-pack of the same beer costs $11.89 (w tax) and delivers 72 ounces. That’s roughly 18 cents per ounce. What the heck is going on here? Suddenly I’m not so thrilled about your new growler program. Am I missing something?”
jump to find out if Tim is, indeed, missing something…
Whole Foods PR machine pinged back thusly: “It may take me a bit to reach our regional wine & beer guy, but let me look in to the pricing component. I know that benefits of the growler are the ‘fresh from the tap’ taste, we will be offering a rotating selection of craft and local beers, and it has the environmental aspect of eliminating bottles, cans and packaging that makes drinking your growler beer equal a lower carbon footprint. What I don’t know is what the price difference should be. Will be back soon with an answer.”
To which Tim ponged: “But bottles keep longer, which is a huge advantage for the consumer (that’s me!). And your costs for the keg/growler product are lower (I am guessing), so mine should be, too. I suspect you’re charging a premium for the ‘growler cool factor,’ but I’m ready to be convinced otherwise. Let me know when you hear from your w&b guy.”
That was at 11:02 am. We have heard nothing back yet.
So why are growlers more expensive than six-packs? We’ve used the intervening hour to drum up a little comparison, and it turns out a little price disparity is par for the course, but Whole Foods’ feels more like hipster gouging.
As Tim pointed out above, at Whole Foods/Lakewood on Tap, a 64 oz growler of Dogfish 60 (which yields four pints) will run you $14 if you bring your own growler ($6 extra if you have to buy one of theirs). That’s .22 per ounce. By the bottle, it’s .17 per ounce ($11.89 for a six/72 oz. after tax)
As a point of comparison, at Left Hand Brewery in Colorado, a growler costs less, between $8.50-$9.25 depending on the beer and only $2.50 for the jug if you don’t have your own. That’s .15 per oz at the top end and a $3.50 savings on the jug. By the bottle, the beer is .14 per ounce. ($10.70 for a six/72 oz. after tax) Slight difference, but nothing to make a stink about.
But still, math is math, and in both scenarios the growler is more expensive per ounce than its 6-pack counterpart.