‘Steel’ brings up a myriad of images, everything from the heat and noise of a Victorian foundry, through the stainless surgical implements that are used in hospitals worldwide every day and ending up at the intricate ends of modern precision engineering.
Steel continues to be the material of choice for a number of operations and it’s safe to say that none of them would be possible without the basis that steel gave to the Industrial Revolution. While some believe that this heavy metal age is where our favourite material was last vital, steel continues to support other kinds of ground-breaking even today.
A perfect example is that of craft beer. Forgoing that stainless steel has long been the go-to option for huge amounts of kitchenware and that beer has been stored in steel casks and kegs for ages, one small item is allowing for a further revolution in real beer: The Growler.
Drinkers of ‘real beer’ worldwide have often developed a sudden slight sneer at the mention of canned beers, instantly bringing to mind the warm tins that have been on a corner shop shelf for untold months. The growler aims to change this by being a small vessel used to transport freshly poured draught beer from bar to home. They appeared in the USA shortly after the repeal of prohibition and ran generally in line with the British ‘jug ‘n’ bottle’, it was a way to get quality beer at home.
Early versions were usually just a ceramic jug, which didn’t do much for keeping the drink fresh. As designs came on they incorporated lids which helped the problem, but still let the carbonation of the liquid escape as it sloshed, purportedly making a burbling noise that led to the name ‘Growler’.
Modern Growlers are much more efficient and a properly sealed flask will hold carbonation indefinitely and keep the beer fresh as long as any other sanitised container. Although ceramic versions are still available with a hinged gasket-cap, stainless steel versions tend to be slightly more popular due to the robust nature of the material.
Although canned beer is still much more popular as a method of preservation, many think that the pump-fresh quality that a Growler offers is worth the effort. Firms such as Brewdog have such confidence in the flasks that they no longer even expect patrons to travel to a pub to top up; specialist bottle shops allow refills from draught pumps specifically to be taken home. They can even buy brewery-branded growlers so that others on the way home can see what is contained within.
The push for ‘real beer’ has seen a surge in recent years due to craft brewers, and stainless steel vessels are helping fans of these brewers shed the image of warm tins of cheap lager in favour of high-end products. It’s only fitting that the high-end product of the finest stainless is used to support them.