Proposed Amendments

The Committee Substitute to SB 1714 in on the Rules Committee’s agenda for this Monday, April 21 at 1 p.m.  Updates on  proposed amendments to the bill will be provided here:

Senator Andy Gardiner (Brevard and Orange counties) filed a delete all on Thursday that seemed to seek a compromise on an already unnecessarily proposed restriction. It would do the following:

  • Allow breweries that brew no more than 2,000 kegs (15.5 gallons) per year to sell beer brewed on premises in bottles/cans without going through a distributor.
  • Allow a brewery that holds a quota license (if that quota license was owned on or before March 1, 2014)  to sell, for off-premises consumption, all malt beverages brewed off premises (sold in sealed containers, not growlers). The quota license would not be allowed to be moved. Beer sold under this provision that is manufactured by the brewery on another premises would need to be acquired through a distributor.
  • Define a growler as 32, 64 or 128 ounces, rather than including all potential sizes in between.
  • Leave everything else as is currently in the Committee Substitute

A short amendment filed by Senator Christopher Smith (Broward) would:

  • Allow vendors to sell individual sealed containers up to 64 ounces (currently 32 ounces).
  • Leave everything else as is currently in the Committee Substitute

There is nothing Earth shattering here – no substantial changes. The 2,000 kegs addition is another way of taking a bad situation and throwing brewers a bone. It would be the legislators’ way of essentially telling brewers they outgrow the exception that shouldn’t be necessary in the first place.

The Bill Right Now

Just a reminder about the proposed bill and the changes it would make:

  • It would define growler and allow all size growlers between 32 and 128 ounces (64 ounce growler allowed).
  • It would describe who may sell growlers: A brewery with beer brewed on premises, a quota license holder, and vendors who may sell for on and off premises consumption
  • Lower the brewers bond amount from 20k to 5k
  • Prohibit brewpubs from shipping beer back and forth between the brewpub and its other licensed premises
  • Prohibit brewpubs from selling beer off the premises
  • Prohibit delivery of beer in growlers or bottles/cans to a consumer (even if done by another consumer)
  • Limit sales for off-premises consumption to growlers of beer brewed on the premises, unless the beer is obtained from a distributor
  • Require that beer sold in bottles and cans brewed on the premises must first be sold to a distributor and then repurchased before being sold to consumers for off-premises consumption.
  • Add an exception to the come-to-rest requirement so distributors would not be required to even pick up the beer they are buying and reselling to the brewery (this would generally go against the purpose of the requirement which is for efficient and effective tax collection).
  • Allow a person transporting a growler to actually transport a growler (yay!)

Confusion

We are also in a spot where the Staff Analyses, which explain the proposed bill and its potential impact, demonstrate that the proposed bill is not well written and not easily understood. There is clearly confusion between the Analyst and the legislators. While Kelli Stargel explained over and over that YOU’RE A BREWER, A DISTRIBUTOR OR A VENDOR and that if a brewery wants to sell its own products in cans/bottles it must go through a distributor, the analysis suggests otherwise.  The section of the analysis that discusses the effect of the proposed changes notes as follows:

A vendor-licensed brewer may sell malt beverages that are manufactured at another location,
including another licensed manufacturing premises directly or indirectly owned in whole or in
part by the manufacturer, as authorized by its vendor’s license. However, the malt beverages that
are manufactured at another location and that are sold for consumption off the premises must be
obtained from a licensed distributor and sold to the consumer in their original sealed containers.

This makes certain to distinguish between beer brewed on premises and off premises. It specifies that beer brewed off the premises (even if owned by the brewer) must be obtained from a licensed distributor. That would suggest that beer brewed on the licensed premises would not need to be obtained from a distributor.  Right? Not so fast – because “anything not specifically authorized in subsections (2) and (3) is prohibited unless otherwise authorized under the Beverage Law.” That only creates more confusion since the analyst notes that “[t]he effect or intent of this provision is unclear.”  Section 561.221(2)(a) notes that sales for off-premises consumption are limited to growlers filled with beer brewed on premises. So, clearly you could not sell beer brewed on premises in cans/bottles because those aren’t growlers. Then why does the portion that discusses obtaining beer (including that owned by the brewery reselling it) from a distributor even include reference to beer brewed at another location? What about beer brewed at the licensed premises? Aren’t all products that would be sold in cans or bottles by a brewer required to be obtained from a distributor? Then why the distinction? There is a disconnect in the relevant sentence of the proposed bill:

“Malt beverages manufactured at another location, including another licensed manufacturing premises directly or indirectly owned in whole or in part by the manufacturer, and malt beverages manufactured by any other manufacturer may be sold as authorized by the manufacturer’s vendor license, provided that malt beverages sold for consumption off the licensed premises shall be obtained from a licensed distributor and sold to the consumer in their original sealed containers.”

Everything after the last comma appears to apply to ALL beer sold for consumption off the premises while everything before the comma clearly only applies to beer brewed off the premises. Which is it? It can’t apply to ALL beer sold for consumption off the premises because that would include growlers. If all “malt beverages sold for consumption off the licensed premises shall be obtained from a licensed distributor and sold to the consumer in their original sealed containers” as the proposed bill would require, then that could be read to prohibit the very growler portion that would be allowed in the proposed bill.

This should be much easier given that brewers were just looking to be allowed to sell 64 ounce growlers.