LED - Growlers and Crowlers Update

April 2, 2020
Dear Liquor Industry Members and Stakeholders,

Today the Liquor Enforcement Division received an inquiry regarding whether emergency Regulation 47-1101, addressing sales of alcohol beverages through delivery and takeout by certain on-premises licensees, allows on-premises retailers to sell alcohol beverages in growlers and crowlers and refill them for customers. The argument has been made that growlers and crowlers fit within the phrase "other container" in emergency Regulation 47-1101(A)(8)(B), 1 CCR 203-2. The short answer is NO, on-premises retailers may not refill and sell alcohol beverages in growlers and crowlers, because doing so would be in violation of Regulation 47-904(C), 1 CCR 203.2. Emergency Regulation 47-1101 did not amend or rescind Regulation 47-904(C), 1 CCR 203-2.

Furthermore, Bulletin 20-03, which was issued yesterday along with Emergency Rule 47-1101, 1 CCR 203-2, included the following discussion directly addressing this issue:

Refilling of sealed containers
Pursuant to Regulation 47-904(C), 1 CCR 203-2: "Except manufacturers or malt liquor manufacturers with an onsite wholesale sales room, no licensee shall refill or permit the refilling of any alcohol beverage container with alcohol beverage or reuse any such container by adding distilled spirits or any substance, including water, to the original contents or any portion of such original contents."

At no time should retail liquor establishments be refilling alcohol beverage containers for off-premises consumption. These establishments would include the following: Hotel &, Restaurant, Beer &, Wine, Clubs, Lodging and Entertainment, Tavern, and Optional Premises. The only license types that can refill containers are Manufacturers of malt, vinous, and spirituous liquors, to include Distillery Pub, Brew Pub, Limited Wineries, Wineries, Breweries, and Distilleries.

The prohibition on retail liquor establishments refilling alcohol beverage containers includes growlers and crowlers. One reason for the prohibition on refilling alcohol beverage containers in Regulation 47-904(C), except for manufacturers with onsite wholesaler sales rooms, is a concern regarding "standards of cleanliness," in keeping with the rulemaking authority contained in section 44-3-202(a)(I)(M), C.R.S. Now, more than ever, it is critical that stakeholders observe all standards of cleanliness to promote public health and safety to the greatest extent possible.

Furthermore, there is no need for on-premises retailers to use growlers and crowlers as "other containers" under emergency Regulation 47-1101, 1 CCR 203-2. There are many readily-available, and cheaper, alternative containers in multiple sizes, typically made from plastic with lids, that could be used in compliance with the container requirements in emergency Regulation 47-1101(A)(8)(b), 1 CCR 203-2.

The Division anticipates additional questions may arise regarding interpretation of emergency Regulation 47-1101, Bulletin 20-03, and the impacts of any COVID-19-related executive orders or public health orders that may be issued in the future, and will attempt to respond as quickly as possible to such questions.
Communication is key for all of us at this time. Should you have any questions please feel free to reach out to the LED via phone, (303) 205-2300, or email dor_led@state.co.us.
Best Regards,

Colorado Liquor Enforcement Division