Classic Growlers, Timeless Transport: A Q&A With Klean's Director of Product

May 11 2015

Klean Kanteen growlers are here, and we're as excited about the release of these big, beautiful stainless steel solutions as you are! Both the 40oz and the 64oz Classic Growlers are fantastic options for beer, cold-brew coffee, kombucha and even water. We suggest keeping one in your car at all times so that when you discover your favorite IPA at a brewery across town, you're prepared to bring it home with you that very day. Aside from tips like that, we wanted to give you some insight into what went into the making of these glorious growlers, so we asked our very own Phil Notheis, Director of Product at Klean Kanteen, a few questions about them. Here's what Phil had to say: 

Klean Kanteen: First, can you tell us a little bit about what your role is at Klean Kanteen?

Phil Notheis: The role itself (Director of Product) is pretty strategic and all encompassing. I lead our product development team by providing overall product vision, global product and market strategies, as well as driving implementation. I’m also responsible for balancing all of our social, environmental and financial company goals with long-term market trends and opportunities. It’s quite an honor to be in a leadership role at a certified B Corp, creating products that really make a difference and helping to deliver on a truly authentic brand promise while meeting inspired company objectives that go beyond financials.

Klean Kanteen: And what does your typical day of work look like?

Phil: I don’t think there is a typical day for me; I suppose coffee and a bike commute into the office are the most consistent things I do. My work day can range from reviewing product concept drawings with our design partners, to writing copy for packaging and user manuals, to collaborating on the product development process with our manufacturing partners and researching our environmental impact through Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) analysis. Needless to say, there's always lots to do!

Klean Kanteen: What drives your interest in product? Are you most drawn to the elements of visual design or the function of the final product, or both?

Phil: Definitely both, and then some. At Klean Kanteen, we're trying to create products that folks carry with them every day that they'll want to keep and reuse for life. Our designs have to be really timeless, and that’s an interesting challenge. I think simplicity is key. Our products, therefore, have a simple look and a simple purpose because in the end, we’re trying to inspire people to make simple changes in their life for their health and the health of the environment. Of course, beyond visual and functional design, we're beginning to move on to more challenging and interesting design aspects, such as addressing the full life cycle of our products and finding ways to use old products as raw materials for new products.

Klean Kanteen: So, why did Klean Kanteen decide to make a growler? 

Phil: If there’s any opportunity for us to help displace single-use waste, we want to take it! Although bottles and cans from the beer industry are recyclable, they still are thrown away and have to be dealt with, which takes more energy and inputs than reusable options do. Using a growler to fill up at a local tap eliminates this issue. Adding to that, we really respect what’s happening in the craft brewing industry and we back the growth of micro-breweries all over the world. They’re typically small family-run businesses that support their communities and use local and/or organic ingredients–we love that. Plus, from a product standpoint we think we can add value to the growler space with better performing option; a lot of what’s out there just doesn’t keep bevies as fresh as we’d like to see, based on our experience.

Klean Kanteen: What sets Klean Kanteen's stainless steel growlers apart from the rest of the growlers (glass, metal, ceramic) we're seeing at breweries these days?

Phil: Glass and ceramic growlers are super affordable and beautiful, but you lose the durability and lighter weight that stainless can provide while transporting or adventuring. There’s a lot of great stainless steel growlers out there as well, in quite a range, so we set out to make ours completely plastic-free, as well as high on style, performance and versatility. We wanted a design that is just as "at home" in the brew pub as it is out on the trail, so we took our Classic, timeless bottle that you know and love, and added an all stainless steel German-bale-style growler cap for a really authentic and quality vibe. It’s a great match and turned out beautifully. It also performs really well and is rated to at least 35psi, is leak-free and keeps even the hoppiest IPA or fizziest kombucha super fresh. The cap opens simply and swings all the way to the side for easy filling and pouring. In fact, our Swing Lok cap is completely removable and interchangeable with all our other Classic bottle caps, so you can use your growler to the max for a wide range of activities. The Swing Lok cap is also totally retrofitable and available as an accessory, so if you have a Klean Kanteen Classic Bottle, you can “growler-fy” it! Also, the electropolished, 100 percent food-grade 18/8 stainless steel interior makes for absolutely zero metal taste or plastic contact. The only thing our growlers don’t have, at the moment, is vacuum insulation. But hang tight! Our insulated growlers will be out later this summer, so keep an eye out for that. 

Klean Kanteen: How long will the Klean Kanteen growler keep beverages fresh for? 

Phil: Good question. Our growlers were created in the spirit of enjoying straight-from-the-tap local, organic brews at their peak of freshness, so we hope one would take advantage within 24 hours of filling. Our growlers really weren't made for long-term storage, but if you keep them closed and cool after filling, your drink should easily stay really fresh for at least 24 hours. Of course, lots of contact with air from opening and closing, agitation and increases in temperature have the largest effects on freshness.

Klean Kanteen: What are people filling their growlers with these days? 

Phil: Our growlers with our Swing Lok cap were designed to keep lightly carbonated beverages like beer, ciders and kombucha fresh, where leak resistance and a solid pressure retention is key. However, you don’t have to stop there, it’s a beautiful reusable vessel, ready for cold-brew coffee, healthy juices, water–and if you’re fortunate enough to live in an area like we do in Chico California: fresh almond milk!