May 25, 2013 at 2:52 PM ET
One of summertime’s finest pleasures is enjoying a refreshing craft beer in the great outdoors.
Lately, more and more craft brewers have been putting their wares in aluminum cans so people can enjoy them at the beach, on the golf course, at the pool, and other places where glass bottles are not allowed.
While these crafty aluminum cans solve the single serving problem, there are still major issues with one of the beer geek’s best friends – the growler, a 64-ounce glass jug of beer, bottled fresh from the tap lines of your favorite brewery or brew pub.
Growlers are a wonderful way to share a great beer with friends, but they have some major shortcomings when it comes to outdoor enjoyment – they can shatter, they’re bulky and they allow the sunlight to hit the beer, which can sully its flavor.
Enter the BeerPouch, a flexible aluminized bag that’s ready for summer fun. It won’t break when dropped, it’s more compact for carrying than a glass growler, and it allows in no light to mess with your beer.
The BeerPouch is the brainchild of Kevin Tubbs, a beer store owner in Alaska who was looking for a way to improve on the shortcomings of modern beer bottles.
“I tried every combination of materials I could find, including Tupperware and duct tape, to come up with a package that could hold carbonation and not allow in light or oxygen,” Tubbs recalled. “One morning, my daughter Mackenzie was sipping one of those Capri Sun juice drinks, and this thought hit me - no light goes through that thing!” Tubbs told TODAY.com.
“A few weeks later, I had some rough prototypes in my beer store and the customers went bonkers for them. I could hardly keep them in stock,” he said.
Tubbs didn’t have the resources to turn his prototype into a retail product, so he teamed up with manufacturing partner and, after years of research and development, recently began rolling out the BeerPouch to customers around the world.
I had a chance to experience the BeerPouch firsthand, and the final product does indeed look like a giant Capri Sun bag, one with a large plastic screw top fashioned onto it. Empty, the bag is light and flexible, feeling almost like heavy-duty aluminum foil. When filled, the size of the BeerPouch is deceiving – it simply looks too compact to be holding the same 64 ounces one gets in a much bulkier glass growler.
One of Tubbs’ first customers was the Altamont Beer Works in Livermore, Calif., which started using the BeerPouch at the end of April.
“The Two Day Town music festival is a big deal around here,” said Altamont’s Steve Sartori. “There’s no glass allowed in the festival, and when I saw the BeerPouch, I knew it would be the perfect way to allow people to enjoy our beer in the park.”
Sartori also noted that the area surrounding Altamont Beer Works is popular with hikers and bikers, both of whom can benefit from the BeerPouch, and it’s easy to pack up after a camping trip, as it’s the size of large envelope when empty, and almost as light.
“Because it’s flexible, you can roll up the bottom until the beer is right at the mouth of the opening, and then put on the cap, which locks out oxygen,” Sartori noted, adding that a regular growler left half full would allow the oxygen in the bottle to work its dulling ways on the beer trapped beneath it.
Altamont charges $10 for a glass growler, plus the cost of the beer that goes into it, and $5 for the BeerPouch, because it costs that much less per unit than the big glass bottles. Both are refillable.
“People are stoked when they see the BeerPouch, because it’s something new, and the idea of an unbreakable growler gives them all sorts of ideas,” Sartori shared. “I have one guy who likes to float in his pool and drink our Hella Hopped Double IPA right from the pouch.”