Beer lover? Try growlers instead of flowers

Posted at 6:00 AM, Feb 01, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-10 20:47:40-05

CINCINNATI — Fifty West Brewing Co. co-owner Bob Slattery knows people in the Tri-State love craft beer. That's why for Valentine’s Day 2014, he launched what he thought would be a fun little publicity stunt called “Growlers Not Flowers.”

“So, it was one of those things where we have a lot of creative people around us, and one of them thought, ‘How cool would it be to go get growlers of beer sent to you on Valentine’s Day instead of flowers?” he recently recalled of the event, now in its third year.

What Slattery did not foresee that first Valentine's Day was the overwhelming response to the idea. People ordered about 70 growlers from Fifty West that year. Employees, Slattery included, spent most of Feb. 14 delivering the 64-ounce containers of beer across Greater Cincinnati.

When Fifty West decided to do the promotion again last year, Slattery thought his team would be better prepared. But he was wrong. The number of delivery orders quadrupled, and some people were unsure if their orders would ever arrive. The brewery did not finish Valentine’s Day deliveries until about 8 p.m.

“I did not sleep for two days, whether I was filling growlers or delivering them around the city,” Slattery said. “It was a long day.”

The hiccups, though, did not deter Fifty West from offering “Growlers Not Flowers” again this year. And this time, Slattery believes they’ve worked out the kinks. Among the changes: Fifty West is limiting the time in which people can order growlers. Orders can be placed through email, at the brewery or over the phone from Feb. 2 to noon Feb. 13. The brewery also will deliver only to addresses within a 20-mile radius of their facility at 7668 Wooster Pike.

Like previous years, due to state laws, growlers can be delivered only within the state of Ohio.

Growlers run $20-$30, including cost of delivery, depending on the beer selection. For this year’s promotion, Fifty West has partnered with another nearby craft business, Sunshine Caramel. When people order growlers, they also can order a quarter-pound of sea salt caramels for $6.95 to be delivered with their beer.

"It is like the perfect combination," said Sunshine Caramel owner Cara Carter-Misleh.

The caramels amount to about six to eight individual pieces, she said. Sunshine Caramel is also currently accepting individual candy orders for the day. (Get more details on the company's Facebook page.)

Slattery expects the number of growler orders to stay the same as they were last year. He said he’s also looking forward to filling and delivering growlers himself between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. on Valentine’s Day.

“We know from our end it’s work,” he said. “This isn’t going to be a major profit center for us, but it is going to be special for our customers, something out of our box.”

Growlers Not Flowers

Beers available for delivery include a light option (to be announced), a hoppy option (Coast to Coast IPA) and a dark option (Paycheck's Porter).

Orders will be accepted Feb. 2 through noon Feb. 13.

Order by phone at 513-834-8789, via email or in person at the brewery at 7668 Wooster Pike.