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The Growler Bike: Pedal Power For Beer Snobs

This bike’s inspiration is those who’ve lost their driver’s license to a DUI but manage to keep on trucking.

The growler. Technically, it’s a half gallon. Emotionally, it’s so much more. It’s the go-to container of back-porch hooch and fine craft beer, or home-fermented concoctions and wines better suited to a box. It’s also, now, a bike.

By Joey Ruiter, the Growler City Bike is a concept inspired in part by this folkloric jug and in part by the "West-ee’s" of Grand Rapids, Michigan.

"The West-ee’s is a term for people in our community that lost their license for DUI and now use bicycles for everything," Ruiter explains. "Local bike shops help outfit commuters with a rack and such. The carts, baskets, trailers, packs, whatever, that they make are all really great."

I’d never heard the term "West-ee" before this interview, nor had I ever heard any word for people who now ride bikes following a DUI. But I imagine them as a highly ingenious sect of Ruiter’s hometown of Grand Rapids, a people who have all the charm of a cartoon hobo (the kind with the handkerchief tied to a sick) and all the ingenuity of an Apollo 13 astronaut.

Evidently, the bike is a tribute to this bar-cruising lifestyle. So at the bike’s nucleus is its meaningful core, the age-old booze bucket, and every design detail grows out of that seed as inevitably as the branches from the trunk of an old oak. The center of the frame is like the growler’s massive handle, and the whole visual design conveys the industrial heft of the chunky bottle.

"The size, shape, and weight of the Growler creates a multitude of issues," Ruiter tells Co.Design. "It should be as protected as possible, it should feel like the heart of the bike, the motor, the power, and really focus the attention on it. I overthink everything."

But in reality, the Growler City Bike isn’t just about safely stowing your moonshine. It’s about moving on with your life after a bad decision—and finding a way to move on without the promise of making any better decisions in the future. In other words, it’s human nature on wheels.

See more here.

[Hat tip: mocoloco]

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  • nonshittywelder

    To be "ok" with this bikes terrible build quality - evident in the pic above, I would need to drink the entire growler FIRST. Which would .... well.. still require the bike and holder, since I would have to refill the growler. So... OK fine. It's excellent.

  • Aegisshield

    I too am a West Michigan
    (Grand Rapids) resident and have never heard the term West-ee.  ...but
    that's OK, there’s a lot of stuff I've never heard of.


    I think the idea here is
    that the bike is a "design concept" not a practical means of beer
    transport.  Right?


    …and as for
    characterizing Grand Rapids residents as having the "charm of a cartoon hobo (the kind with the handkerchief tied to a
    sick) and all the ingenuity of an Apollo 13 astronaut.".... I can say
    as a locally employed aerospace engineer and life-long resident of the area, it’s
    not a handkerchief, it’s a bandana.


    By the way GR now has a
    way better selection of quality brew than Kalamazoo. But please stay away, we
    want to keep this area (and our beer) to ourselves. Nothing here to see.

  • Chuybenitez

    Horrible harness for the growler itself.  With a good bump, that one nub that's holding the growler from the bottom will sooner break the glass than support the growler's weight.  I'm also not trusting of welds that hold the seat to the bike.

  • Damnrobert

    In a world filled with dumb hipster bike concepts - this is one of the dumbest.

  • DavidB

    Maybe the fact that it is designed for a species not yet discovered isn't the point but I prefer my bikes to be useable.

  • WestMichAZO

    I live in Michigan, specifically Kalamazoo (the original craft beer city in my eyes), and I have never heard of the term "west-ees."  Seems almost demeaning to the craft beer culture to design a bike around a DUI, but that's GR for you.