At OTC, a one-time fee of $10 (not including the cost of the beer) buys a OTC growler filled with beer, plus unlimited cleanings at the restaurant.
Due to sanitation requirements, OTC can only refill its own branded growlers. When a growler is returned for a refill, the old one is replaced with a new one. The growlers were introduced on August 12, and owner Michael Sullivan plans to make them a permanent fixture among the restaurant[s craft beer options.
Since 1996, beers from Abbey Brewing have only been available to enjoy on the premises. The new growlers should be available within the week.
What is a growler? It's a jug of beer -- usually coming in 32-, 64-, or 128-ounce sizes -- that you can fill with beer from a tap and take home.
More retail locations in Florida, particularly ones specializing in craft beer, are installing growler filling stations, such as Mendez Fuel Holdings in Miami. ABC Fine Wine and Spirits in Lake Mary introduced growler fills last year. No word yet on whether they'll make it to South Florida locations.
Sullivan caught onto the idea of growlers when he was living in New York and knew he had to eventually bring the idea to his restaurant. He did not notice very many places in Miami that had growlers except for breweries. "I had to hop on board," he says.
OTC has 12 rotating beers on tap, with at least half of them local. And the price to fill the growler with beer is unbelievable, according to Sullivan. One can get a 32-ounce fill of beer for less than half the normal price.
For instance, for a 16-ounce pour, they charge around $7 for beer (depending on the type and brand.) But for 32-ounce take-out, they are charged $6. The price reflects less service.
Sullivan adds that some of the special release kegs he receives, ones that breweries consider off-limits for growler fills, will be available to take out at OTC.
Growler fill stations are stiln uncommon in Miami, but more places other than breweries are beginning to catch on. OTC may be the only place in Brickell with one.
"Brickell needs more craft beer and needs more exposure," Sullivan says.