A few weeks back I read an article about Everything You Didn’t Know About Tipping. It didn’t have that much that I didn’t know about tipping but did bring a few insights. Then yesterday I was at a brewery getting a growler filled and found myself thinking, should you tip for growler fills?
First off if you’re asking what a growler is then check out BeerQuest ABV’s excellent post on the history of growlers. Now back to my situation at MadTree. In a hurry, I bypassed Googling the subject from my phone and figured $1 was good. After I had gotten to my friend’s house I put the question on Facebook and Twitter.
What Say Ye All
The consensus is vague as most people get a pint or two along with the growler. Next to that it seems either $1 or $2 is common. Then a few people tip based on a percentage of cost. I reached out to a few bartenders at bars or tap rooms. Here’s what Patrick Woods, brewer, cellar master, and occasional tap room bartender at Rivertown Brewery had to say:
When asking him and other beertenders what they thought they should get for growler fills most said that $1 to $2 was fine. If you instead look at it from a standard percentage of 15%, then this $1 or $2 range is often the same as a 15% tip. Most growler fills are $10 for the fill, so 15% is $1.50.
Knowledge = Tips
The big thing to consider here that many voiced concern on is if you just walk in and know exactly what you want to order or get some tasters and discussing the brews with the bartender. The more effort that the folks behind the bar go through to get you a growler fill you’re happy with means the more you should tip them. If they pour you four samples and describe the hop nuances of one vs. the malt profile of another, you need to reward them for that with a tip.
What About Stores?
Something else many brought up is non-bar/brewery growler fills. I know not all states allow this, but Cincinnati has many grocery and liquor stores with taps to fill a growler o. Everyone seemed quite clear that they don’t tip at the store and only at the bar/brewery. There are two main reasons for this:
- Folks at a store are bringing in a significant amount of more money on their regular paycheck without the need for tips while bartenders get a meager amount in their check leaving their livelihood to depend on tips. It’s just the way almost every bar in America structures their pay scale.
- Stores aren’t structured for a tip system. The receipts don’t have a line for tips, and I can’t recall seeing a tip jar on a counter at any stores.
For me, the bottom line here is that if someone at a store goes above and beyond doing a growler fill give them a buck or two. More importantly, let the manager know what an awesome employee they have; good odds that kind of compliment could lead to a raise that will mean a lot more in the long run than your $1 tip.
Speak Your Piece
Now have your say and let us know if you tip or not and if so how much. Do you go by percent? Just $1 for 32 oz. or $2 for a 64 oz. fill? Do you not tip for growler fills at all?? Also, anyone out there who has ever filled a growler, please speak up and let us know what you think.