An institution on the Birmingham beer scene since 1979, Stirchley Wines were early adopters of Growlers – and they’ve not looked back since. “We specialise in beer from around the world and had been looking to provide a growler-style filling service since about 2011 but just couldn’t find the right way of doing it” says Krishan Rajput, owner of the multi-award-winning independent off-licence, alongside his father, Amrik.
“We really wanted to use growlers but couldn’t buy a small enough amount of them or justify buying a pallet load from the USA.” That didn’t deter them though. They began using a tap system to fill plastic bottles, but they were never happy with the outcome. “It was awful, but we had no alternative until we saw something about Growler Store on social media in 2015. We got in touch and the rest is history.”
We were able to supply them with the small quantity they needed to start off with, branding them with the Stirchley Wines logo. “We were away. We bought a small quantity of 26oz and 64oz American-style growlers. Then worked out how to use CO2 to purge the dispenser filling the growlers up without any air inside to keep the beer fresher for longer. Our first order was for 150 but since then we’ve bought hundreds. They’re all out there now, spreading the word with many being brought back to us to be refilled regularly. Growler Store growlers have proved the perfect match for their company mantra of ‘fill, drink, rinse, repeat’, it seems.
Their growler filling service now offers a choice of four different beers for people to take away and enjoy wherever they like. They also approach breweries and tap rooms direct to ask them if they want Stirchley Wines to sell their beer. “It’s great. We can choose the best beers then tell customers all about the brewery, who they are, what they’re doing. Plus, the Growlers make an interesting talking point in the shop.”
Krishan and Amrik had long kept a watchful eye on the burgeoning craft beer scene in the USA as they looked to grow their business in line with the explosion of the UK craft beer scene. “In 2015 we definitely wanted a piece of the action. Most places only offered keg or bottle, so we saw an opportunity to pull in those beer lovers and offer them four different exciting new beers at all times, rotating them regularly.”
Image: Geoff Broadway
The reusable nature of growlers is a big benefit too. “The refilling works really well and it’s much more sustainable than bottles or cans. Many of our customers prefer to be greener and it fits in well. It’s been a good partnership.”
Having championed all types of beers for over 40 years while supporting breweries and the local beer scene it’s clear these guys know a thing or two about what works and what doesn’t. “When I first saw glass growlers I thought ‘they’re cool’. We were early adopters, and it works for us. We love the design, it spreads the word, it’s green and the beer tastes great from first sip to last. What more could you need?”
Allowing beer lovers to experience quality draft craft beer at home is their mission. We’re just delighted we can play our part in their success. Could we play a part in yours?
You can shop for Growler Store Growlers here.
Chat to us on 0208 396 7322, or email us here.
And find out more about Stirchley Wines here.