Attention Florida Beer Activists: Support Your State’s Small Brewers

March 21, 2014

Dear AHA, BA and Support Your Local Brewery Members,

The Florida Brewers Guild has requested that beer enthusiasts take action to support the state’s small and independent brewers and craft beer consumers.

Please read the following information provided by the Florida Brewers Guild:

The Florida Brewers Guild needs your help to oppose legislation that is severely detrimental to Florida’s breweries. It is imperative that you contact the Senate President and your local State Senator as soon as possible to tell them to VOTE NO on Proposed Senate Bill 7120.

Although the Proposed Senate Bill 7120 will legalize 64 ounce growlers, it places burdensome and punitive restrictions on breweries and their tasting rooms that are not in place under current law and serve no other purpose than to strongly curtail the rapid growth of small business breweries in Florida.

The bills will make it illegal for breweries to sell a 128 ounce growler. It will make it illegal for breweries to fill growlers of their own beer if it was brewed at another location. It will make it illegal for specialty beer shops that are subject to inspection by the Health Department to sell growlers but protects liquor stores that are not required to be inspected by the Health Department. The bill also stipulates that if the new growler restrictions are not strictly adhered to, then you are committing a first degree misdemeanor and could have your brewery license revoked.

Additionally, the bill makes it illegal for breweries to sell beer in bottles and cans for off-premise consumption, including collaboration beers, and makes it illegal for a brewery to make cider or mead.

Even more alarming, it kills any potential for creativity and future growth in the industry, as it contains an oppressive limitation which states, “anything not specifically authorized . . . is prohibited unless otherwise authorized under the Beverage Law.”

The bill does offer an advantage for beer distributors, granting them an exemption from the current law that requires any beer picked up by a distributor from a brewery be brought back to their licensed and bonded warehouse to ensure compliance with state and federal taxation.

Simply put, these anti-consumer, anti-business restrictions will hurt Florida breweries and put an end to the growth of craft beer along with many of the jobs created by the brewing industry in Florida.

It is imperative that you contact the Senate President and your local State Senator to tell them to VOTE NO on this bill. Tell them how harmful these restrictions will be to your local craft brewery. Please be courteous and respectful, but let them know that you care about Florida’s craft breweries and their positive economic impact and job growth they bring to your local community.

Thank you for supporting craft beer in Florida!

Thanks for your support of Florida’s small and independent brewers.

Charlie Papazian
Brewers Association

Gary Glass
American Homebrewers Association