Granddaddy’s Growler

We were cleaning out my grandmother’s house and figuring out which knickknacks we’d hold onto.  I’d set aside a few things when my wife held up this oddly shaped tin pail.  It was vague familiar.  She asked what it was.  My mother told us it was a  “cherry-picking pail.” Whatever it was, my wife liked it.

Flash forward a decade.  A colleague brought in a similar looking tin pail with a lid.  She brought it in because she had just discovered that it was her grandfather’s growler and she thought I’d like to see it.


My colleague’s growler

In the intervening years I had indeed learned that the mostly glass growlers that I used to bring draft beer home had stated out as simple galvanized or enameled metal pails.  As the realization dawned I ran next door to my house to pull the “cherry-picking pail” off the dusty shelf of its exile.

While the shape and size varied slightly from hers, the material and apparent age were the same.  This odd pail was not for cherries at all- it was for beer!


The “cherry picking pail” that turned out to a growler

Given the fact that mine narrows at the neck this makes much more sense.  For gathering cherries or anything else that you’d be tossing into a container, said container should have a wider, not narrower opening.  Moreover, my grandmother was decidedly anti-booze and a member of the WCTU, which gave her motive to disguise the boozy past of this heirloom.

While it’s safe to say I won’t be taking this to the local bar or brewery for a fill up, I am glad to had this piece of family history to my growler collection.

As to the full history of growlers there is much agreement but also some debate, particularly as to the origins of the name.  If you want to learn more you can do like the old after school specials would say and “Consult your local library” or just click on this link, or this one or this one.

So do you have any beer related heirlooms in your family?  Please share your stories and pics.


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