It is now legal for gas stations to provide growler stations where fans of draft beer can fill up a jug they purchase at the station or their own.
Kum and go is considering installing growler stations in their new store prototypes in Joplin, Republic and one in Springfield at the corner of Campbell and Sunset.
“Those will be likely candidates, although we haven’t made any choices on exactly where we’ll put a growler station,” said Kristie Bell, Communications Director at Kum & Go.
The convenience store already has growler stations in Iowa, and say they have been popular there
“This is just one more choice that we like to give our customers, this fresh beer option,” Bell said. “The other thing that the growler station allows us to do is feature local beer, so that’s been really popular here in Iowa. At least two of the six taps have been local breweries from the state of Iowa and customers really enjoy that.”
Customers will have the option of buying 32 or 64-ounce glass growlers, or bringing in their own, which will receive a plastic seal over the screw top. The beer has to be consumed off premises.
While growler stations gives consumers another option, some say it’s not a good option.
“When you walk in with a growler, I don’t how it’s been treated, so therefore for me to be able to put it against my system and to fill it with beer, I don’t know what environment I’m actually putting my beer in,” said Bryan Bevel, Director of Operations and partner at Springfield Brewing Co. “We’ve done everything possible that we can to make sure that beer is good for you guys, and then I just randomly send it out the door, it’s not good business.”
Safety, Bevel says is another concern.
“Growlers that you can buy commercially in the U.S. Aren’t pressurated. So you fill them with beer, and you put it in your trunk and you forget about it for a couple of days, you’re driving around with a grenade waiting to go off,” he said.
The Missouri Small Brewers Guild opposed the growler bill because it also allows brewers to lease branded refrigerators at gas stations – a cost the guild says small breweries can’t afford to compete with bigger operations.
Kum & Go says they are not looking into the refrigeration part of law at this time. As for the growler stations, it will be a couple of months before they have a better idea on where and when those are coming to Missouri.