Is my growler food-safe? (I consider beer a food-group.)
Yes, absolutely. Our stoneware is non-toxic and so is the glaze. As we mentioned above, the stoneware is impermeable and presents a completely solid surface. The metal on the lid mechanism is #304 stainless steel, and the gasket is made from FDA-approved food safe silicone. Please remember to always wash your growler before and after use to avoid any sort of bacteria growth (just like any other tableware).
What is stoneware?
Goose Creek uses stoneware to make the growlers. Stoneware is a type of ceramic pottery frequently used for mugs, plates, and other tableware. Once finished it is impermeable, meaning it does not allow anything to pass through its surface. So the growler won’t absorb your beer, which is a good thing. The stoneware slip used in our growlers typically dries to a grey-brown before we start the firing and glazing process.
What is slip-casting?
First, what is “slip”, right? In our case, slip is basically stoneware clay in its’ liquid form. (Technically it is the suspension of the clay particles in water.) The combination of the particles in water produces what amounts to liquid clay, which we “cast” in plaster molds. So slip-casting is the process and method of pouring slip into the plaster molds, allowing it to dry for a specific amount of time, removing the excess, and then removing the form from the mold. For our growlers, we designed and constructed by hand a master model of the growlers and handles, then we made a plaster mold so that the shape could be exactly reproduced. Slip is poured into the mold and allowed to “dry”. The plaster begins to absorb the water on the outer edges of the slip (which starts to dry into a solid) creating the outside shell of the growler. After a period of time, the mold is turned over and the remaining liquid slip is poured out. It leaves behind the stoneware that has started to dry, and you’re left with the basic growler shape that has wall thickness somewhere around 3/8”. The mold is allowed to dry for a while longer so that the stoneware firms up and holds its shape when it is gently pulled from the mold.
The same process is used for the handles, although they are allowed to dry all the way. Once the handle and growler are removed from their molds, the handle is trimmed and attached to the growler body.
How long will it take for my order to be processed?
Your order is processed immediately, and production of your actual growler(s) will generally start within 2 business days.
How long does it take to make a growler, and what is the process?
Making a custom growler from scratch is a time-intensive process. Typically the process from order to delivery takes around 3 to 4 weeks. We start with mixing liquid slip stoneware and hand-pouring it into a unique mold for the body and the desired handle. The clay is allowed to dry to a specific thickness and then the remaining liquid clay is removed. Both molds are allowed to dry overnight. Once the clay has dried enough to be stable (and the form can stand on its own), the body and handle are removed from molds and joined by hand using more of the liquid slip (kind of like gluing the handle to the body). The new growler is also trimmed by hand and checked for imperfections. The lid must fit perfectly for a proper seal, so a lot of effort is put into the final shaping of the lid portion.
The entire growler is turned on a wheel and smoothed out, and then it is moved to a safe place to dry. Once fully dried, the growler is ready for its first firing in the kiln (called the bisque fire). When fired, the growler turns from a damp grey to a bright white. It has a chalky feel to it. Each piece is inspected and sanded by hand to ensure smooth surfaces and edges. It’s then ready for glazing.
Depending on the glaze, the color is chosen and the growler is dipped by hand into the glaze. After a short period of time the glaze is wiped clean from the bottom of the growler and any smudges are fixed. The growler is allowed to rest for a day or two and then is glaze fired. The firings always take about a two days (one day to fire, one day to cool). After the glaze firing the growler has achieved its final color. It cools for a bit and then is ready to either ship or have a decal applied. If the growler is getting a decal, we’ll apply the water slide decal to the growler, wipe and squeegee the air and water pockets out, and fire it again in the kiln at a low temperature. The decal basically melts into the growler wall and is sealed permanently into the surface. Once it cools and is double checked for quality, we add the lid and send it on its way to you.
How do you apply the image decal?
We use ceramic-pigment decals on our growlers. Ceramic decals are printed using a specially modified printer that delivers ceramic dyes to a special water-slide paper. We use typical imaging software (like Photoshop) to layout your image or logo, and then send it to the printer. Once printed, it is trimmed by hand and prepared for application. The application process is relatively simple but requires a lot of focus and attention because the decals can dry and/or crack if not applied correctly or fast enough. You submerge the decal on the paper, then lift it onto the growler. The paper portion is basically pulled out from under the decal layer, leaving the image resting on top of the growler wall. It is carefully wiped clean of water and air bubbles are gently worked out from behind the decal until it is smooth and level. We then send the growler back to the kiln for a low-temp firing. This firing will “bake” the decal into the wall of the growler permanently. Once baked in, it’s on for good.
Will the growler hold carbonation?
Yes, each growler is made to exact specifications to ensure an air-tight fit. We use the stainless steel locking mechanism to sandwich a FDA-approved silicone gasket between the ceramic body and lid of the growler. I’ve tested these growlers on many occasions and one even held a porter fully carbonated for two weeks after I had it filled. That’s as long as I’ve tested it because I just can’t look at a full growler in my fridge for that long without opening it up. Of course, once you open your filled growler you really should finish it that day (or at least within 24 hours). Each time you open it you lose the built up carbonation (just like a 2-liter of soda). Untouched you can be sure that the carbonation will remain for at least several days, but once you pop it open you and your buds should polish it off that day or the next.
I brew beer at home. Can I use it to bottle-condition my homebrew?
As a home brewer myself, I do not recommend it. Stick with your regular routine and use your growler for short-term beer storage.
How long will the gasket last?
That depends on your usage habits (and your cleaning habits). But it’s a good idea to replace them every couple of months with frequent use (or if you store the growler dry for long periods of time). They gasket is inexpensive but plays a big role in protecting your beer, so keep a few fresh ones around to switch out if yours is looking cracked or tired. Use your best judgement, but if you ever start losing carbonation the first thing to check is the gasket. Always clean the gasket before & after each use since bacteria loves to hide behind and around it.
How should I clean the growler?
A warm, soapy hand-wash is the best way to do it. I often give it a quick rinse and then fill it up to soak with regular dish soap for a half day or so. Then I come back and give it a good wash, including the lid and gasket. Invert it to dry in a safe place (be careful, they are top-heavy). Every few fills I’ll disassemble the lid mechanism and wash it really well. Just remember how you took it apart...it can be tricky to reassemble if you aren’t paying attention!
What if I want a different color?
Sure, it’s possible. Each color that we currently offer is based on a glaze that we have tested extensively for dependability and consistency. Ceramics (and glazes) are temperamental and act funny sometimes. If you would like a different color we can certainly discuss your ideas and work on finding the best glaze color for you. Please be prepared to spend a little time working out the details as it is not as simple as it may seem. But we would love to talk to you about it, just give us a ring or send an email.
Do you offer wholesale pricing?
Yes. Actually a large part of our business is in custom work for breweries, distilleries, and restaurants. Custom Goose Creek Growlers can also be created for Festivals and other special events. We also offer wholesale pricing for retail businesses that are interested in carrying our growlers. Please visit our Wholesale page to request an account, or contact us HERE via email.
How much does it weigh, and what are the dimensions?
4.5 pounds. Dimensions are roughly 12” tall, 5.5” wide at the base, and about 7” wide at the handle.
How do you ship the growlers?
Our growlers are shipped UPS ground unless another option is chosen at checkout. We recently partnered with a packaging company to design a “custom shipping solution”. It is a recyclable cardboard box and internal structure that provides support and protection from damage during shipment. We love the box and it works great, but shipping a ceramic product is always risky. Occasionally they will take an extreme beating on the road and may end up damaged. If that happens to your growler please notify us immediately. In fact, send us a picture if you can. We know that nobody likes it when that happens, but we will make it right. You have our word on that.
There is a problem with my order. What should I do?
In the event that there is an error with your order, please contact us immediately by email and we will be happy to assist you.
Do you ship internationally?
Yes, we ship to Europe and most of the World. But shipping a growler around the world isn’t cheap. Please contact us first with orders outside of the US.
How fast can I get my Growler?
Rush orders are possible and will carry an additional fee. Contact Brandon to discuss your situation and we’ll make it work.
Are payments made through your site secure?
Yes, absolutely. All transactions are taken either via Shopify’s Stripe payment gateway using bank-level security, or by GooglePay/Paypal (also using the highest payment gateway security). This also means that we do not hold or store any of your card details regardless of which checkout option you choose. Also very important: We will never sell or share your personal info at any time.
I have more questions or Your nice little FAQ page didn’t cover my question(s).
No problem. Email firstname.lastname@example.org and you’ll have a response within 48 hours. Or call (703)999-3703 if you’d prefer to talk on the phone.