New store has a way of extending the freshness of craft beer

How fresh is your beer?

Growlers Keep uses a carbon dioxide counter pressure filling system, when filling your growler at the new 48-tap beer store in Bakerview Square in Bellingham. The CO2 keeps the beer fresher longer.
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Growlers Keep uses a carbon dioxide counter pressure filling system, when filling your growler at the new 48-tap beer store in Bakerview Square in Bellingham. The CO2 keeps the beer fresher longer.

For those frustrated with beer in a growler losing its freshness too quickly, a new retailer has come up with a solution.

Growlers Keep recently opened in Bakerview Square at 436 W. Bakerview Road. It offers 48 different options, with 41 craft beers, including ones from local breweries. The other taps are for ciders or root beer. Customers can either buy a 32- or 64-ounce growler at the Keep or bring in their own to fill up.

Owner Sandy Petersen got the idea after seeing a similar business in North Bend, thinking it would be perfect for Bellingham’s growing craft beer scene. When filling the growler with beer, this system expels the oxygen and replaces it with carbon dioxide. After it is sealed, the beer stays fresh from anywhere between two and six months, said Rachel Sullivan, who is Sandy’s daughter and helps operate the business with her husband, James. Once the seal is broken, the freshness time drops to a few days, much like the growlers bought at other places that don’t use the CO2 system.

The Keep also has its current list on digital screens, with a real-time look at how much is left in the kegs. Customers can also track it on their smartphones with the Digital Pour app, so they know what’s available before making the trip to the store.

Sandy Petersen fills a growler of beer at the new Growlers Keep in Bakerview Square in Bellingham, Tuesday, Oct 31, 2017. The store has 48 beers on tap and uses carbon dioxide to keep the beer fresh in the growler. Philip A. Dwyer

Even though Growlers Keep recently opened, operators have already noticed some interesting trends – one surprise is the popularity of its Rogue Root Beer. Children and adults have discovered it, quickly making Rogue Root Beer a regular standby on the keg list. Seasonal beers have also been a hit, Rachel Sullivan said.

While the business is near a college and expect to be an option for parties, Jim Sullivan said they are looking for people who appreciate beer.

Prices range from $4 to $8 for 32 ounces, exactly half the price of the 64 ounce. The Keep can also do one-ounce samples. It is open 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday. For details and updates, check out the company’s Facebook page or call 360-734-0656.


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