Florida Bill to Regulate Craft Beer Not Passed: EOT Beer News

On May 2, 2014, the Florida Legislature failed to complete voting on a Senate-passed bill that would have added some regulations to Florida’s craft beer industry. The debate was originally about legalizing growlers in Florida — a growler is a 64-ounce jug which people can fill with their favorite craft beers on tap, usually directly from the brewery. This practice is legal in most states. But Don Gaetz, president of the Florida Senate, did not want to allow it, amid speculation that he is being restrained by one of his major political donors, a distributor for Anheuser-Busch InBev, the giant producer of such beers as Budweiser and Stella Artois. It seems that the company does not want people to be able to buy large amounts of local craft beer, fearing it will cut into sales. But are craft beer enthusiasts really the sort of people who are regular drinkers of Bud Light? Hardly.

As the bill in question, Senate Bill 1714, passed down the line, it stated that Florida craft brewers that sell more than 2,000 kegs would have to sell their product to distributors, then buy it back for growler distribution. This all means that craft beer prices would rise considerably for the local brewers and for the consumer. The bill is certainly something that craft beer enthusiasts should oppose, as it attempts to insert Big Beer’s tentacles into the microbrew and craft beer world so that Anheuser-Busch InBev can profit. Fortunately, the bill was not voted on by the Florida House before the end of the 2014 legislative session. Let’s hope the effort is not revived in the next session.

Tags: Beer Law Craft Beer Everything On Tap FanSided Florida Beer Law Food Ergo Love Growler Matt Miller

  • http://www.tomahawktake.com/ Chris Headrick

    Craft beer enthusiasts, home brewers, and small craft breweries, I’m sure are well aware of the political shenanigans that companies like Anheuser-Busch InBev engage in, but if they are not, they had better start getting informed! Some of their political moves, like this one in Florida, are nothing but absolutely despicable and greedy, and the truth is that these companies are nothing but lazy. They are fat cats that don’t give a hoot about quality craftsmanship, and want to shut down an competitors under the guise of caring about the populace. It’s total horse crap! I’m thrilled this measure failed in Florida, because even though I don’t live there, there are multiple small breweries in Birmingham, AL where I do live, and they fight similar battles. The quality, craft industry is growing, and we cannot let the fat cats put a wrinkle or a stop sign in front of the movement. Beer lovers unite, and watered-down swill producers should get on board or get out of the way.