How Long Do Crowlers Last?

How Long Do Crowlers Last?

How you fill, seal, and store your product will have a significant impact on how long its flavor will last. It can mean the difference between products that last for months and those that start to lose flavor within a day or so. CrowlersTM are a popular method of selling beer to-go because of their flexibility and convenience. But how long do Crowlers last, and how can you extend their shelf life for as long as possible?

The Popularity of Crowlers

Crowlers have a range of benefits for both brewers and consumers. They are flexible, portable, sanitary, and easy to add to a to-go order. We’ve worked with many brewers, bars, food trucks, and other businesses that have been able to add entirely new revenue streams to their business with Crowlers.

Customers standing by food truck

How Long Do Crowlers Last Unopened?

That depends! If you don’t take key steps such as CO2 purging, the flavor of your beverage can start to decay after only a few days. That may be okay if you are canning a beverage for someone’s to-go order or for a customer who will be taking it to the beach and drinking it that day. But if you’d like it to be stored for any period of time, there are several steps you should take.

Perhaps the most important step in preserving flavor is preventing oxygen from getting into the can because oxygen will quickly break down the ingredients in your beer and impact its flavor. However, you can purge the oxygen by using an airgun to gently blow carbon dioxide into the can immediately before filling it. Since carbon dioxide is heavier than air, it will stay in the can until you fill it with beer. But make sure not to blow the CO2 in too fast, or else it will just fly out of the can and leave plenty of oxygen behind. 

You should also make sure that the beverage is as cold as possible before filling it, because that will help it retain carbonation and reduce foaming. If you’re canning beer, you’ll likely still have a bit of foam at the top, and that’s okay. Foam is just bubbling carbon dioxide, so capping on foam will help keep oxygen out of the can. Also, it's always good to fill from the bottom of the can with a necked filler to reduce foaming and oxygen exposure.

If you’re really interested in making sure that you’re filling the Crowlers the right amount, you can always use a scale or drop them into some water. If the can sinks, it may be too full, but if it floats easily, it has too much air. A can that’s been filled just right will lightly bob at the top of the water. 

Last, but not least, make sure your cans and canning area are properly sanitized and free of chemical contaminants. Rinse your cans (even if they’re new), and clean your canning area regularly.

If you follow all of these best practices, your Crowler may last up to a month or more without losing flavor. But there are additional factors to consider. Particularly hoppy beers will start to lose their flavor sooner than ambers or stouts. Because of that, we always recommend that you test how your product stores for different periods of time. This will allow you to ensure that your customers are enjoying the flavor of your beverages to the fullest.

How Long Does a Growler Last?

A growler typically won’t last as long as a Crowler for several reasons. First and foremost, the seal on a growler is not as tight as a can. Glass growlers also let in a bit of light, which can start to break down the ingredients over time. Lastly, growlers can’t be filled too full, or they risk becoming over-pressured.

Most of the time, growlers will start to lose flavor after a couple of days. If you have a particularly tight seal and you’re diligent about refrigerating it right away, you may be able to make it last up to 10 days. Of course, as soon as you open it for the first time, you’re relieving the pressure and letting in oxygen, so you’ll only have a few hours to drink all 64 ounces before the beer starts losing flavor and carbonization.

Crowler vs. Growler: Which One Is Better?

If you’re wondering whether to offer your customers a Crowler or growler in your taproom, you’ll have a few factors to consider. Growlers have a unique appeal and some customers love buying them for their designs. Crowlers, however, have several advantages over growlers.

One of the best things about Crowlers is that they’re far more portable. Glass growlers are heavier, require you to bring them back to the taproom for a refill, and can be awkward to take to the beach or on a boat. Plus, they’re a lot messier if you drop one. 

While the reusability of glass growlers is a plus, aluminum cans are actually highly recyclable. In fact, a can may be recycled at just 5% of the energy that it would take to make a new one. 

The convenience of Crowlers also makes them more marketable than growlers. Not only does the beer last longer, but buying two Crowlers lets you drink 32 ounces now and save the other 32 for later.

Lastly, Crowlers present great marketing opportunities. Every time you create a unique brew, you can put a label on the Crowler that serves as a walking advertisement for that beer. 

Adding a Crowler Machine to Your Business

If you’ve decided that Crowlers are the way to go for your business, you’ll need a great can seamer to go with them. The Model 8 - G from Oktober Can Seamers will seal cans with the push of a button. It includes a robust, needle-bearing seaming roller design for increased lifetime and reliability, and subtle LED lighting to attract your customers to your to-go canning system. We also offer a range of custom colors, including prismatic colors.

Order a Crowler Can Seamer Today

Ready to start selling Crowlers at your business? Order a can seamer from Oktober or contact our staff to talk about how our products work.
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