What is slip-casting?
Definition: Slip casting (verb) is the process of creating ceramic forms by pouring specialized slip into plaster molds. Once dried to the leather-hard stage, the molds are opened and the cast object removed to dry completely before firing. Before the growlers was ready to slip cast an original was hand thrown by a talented ceramic production potter who has many years of experience throwing large vertical vessels.
How long will beer keep in a growler?Although our growlers are air-tight, beer will not last indefinitely in them. Growlers are meant for short-term storage. Pour wine or beer into the growler and keep it closed for two weeks if desired. However, any cap releases allow air into the container, reducing the drink's lifespan to about two days. Drink up and refill it for the tastiest drinks around.
How should I care for my growler/ How do I clean my growler?Your handcrafted growler should never see the inside of the dishwasher. 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. Rinse and wipe it dry for the best care, then 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!
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. A custom growler will take around 2 weeks to complete.
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 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 within 24 hours (48 max). 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?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
What if I want a different color? sure, it's possible we do take many custom orders for weddings, home brewers,...
Do you offer wholesale pricing? Yes. Actually a large part of our business is in custom work for microbreweries, tap stations, restaurants....
Please email with any questions to Julie@handcraftedgrowlers.com