Representative Gregory Steube filed HB 107 yesterday. The bill follows much of the language of the bills we saw in the previous session. For example, it would allow breweries to operate taprooms without separately acquiring a retail license. In those taprooms, the proposed bill would require that at least 70 percent of the beer sold (or given) to consumers must be brewed on premises. The remainder must be brewed by the same brewery but may be brewed off-site. Breweries would continue to be able to obtain vendors licenses (up to two) to operate their taprooms as they currently do. That would include selling beer for on and off premise consumption and allow for wine and/or liquor depending upon the vendor license owned by the brewery. Any brewery that has already applied for more than two vendor’s licenses prior to 3/15/15 or which has already been issue more than two such licenses prior to 7/1/15, would be able to keep those licenses.

The bill also further defines a brewpub, which has not previously been done. As the law currently stands, what we refer to as a “brewpub” is simply a location that cannot brew more than 5,000 barrels of beer each year. This bill specifically provides such entities with the term “brewpub” and would allow the brewpub to sell its beer for on premise consumption and off premise consumption in growlers. It would also allow for the sale of beer brewed by other manufacturers for on premise consumption and for off premise consumption in growlers if it holds a quota license (the most expensive of the vendors licenses).  The bill would require a brewpub to hold a permanent public food service establishment license (a manufacturing brewery can also hold such a license).

FRANCHISE REQUIREMENTS

The proposed bill touches upon a subject that is of much greater significance than the 64 ounce growler (which will be discussed below). It provides that franchise agreements entered into between brewers and distributors shall not have a term that exceeds five years unless the brewer is one that provides more than 50% of the beer purchased by and delivered to a distributor per year. This would provide a brewery that is not happy with its distributor an opportunity to seek another distributor (or start its own) if it can survive the remainder of its current term. It further defines the damages due to a distributor if a primary manufacturer terminates the agreement without good cause.

SELF DISTRIBUTION

Like last year, Representative Steube includes a push for limited self distribution. The bill would allow breweries to distribute up to 5,000 barrels of its own beer directly to licensed vendors.

Growlers

Growlers would be defined as “any container between 32 ounces and 128 ounces in size that was originally manufactured to hold malt beverages”.  As described above, growlers would be able to be filled by the breweries that brewed the beer in their taprooms/retail premises (retail premises still must be on the same premises as the brewery). Growlers could be filled with another brewery’s beer if it is filled by a manufacturer or a vendor with a quota license (or such a vendor that obtains at least 80% of its annual gross revenue from the sale of beer). Growlers that are being refilled by a different vendor/taproom would be required to cover any existing brand-identifying labels and cover them with proper brand identifiers. Growlers would also require labels with the name of the manufacturer, brand, volume and ABV of the beer inside. They must also include the proper government warning.

Tastings

The bill would also provide for tastings conducted by manufacturers (and distributors). The tastings may take place in a store that sells by package (depending upon certain details) and where consumption is allowed on premises.  Samples would be limited to no more than 3 ounces per product sampled.

The bill is available here: http://www.myfloridahouse.gov/Sections/Documents/loaddoc.aspx?FileName=_h0107__.docx&DocumentType=Bill&BillNumber=0107&Session=2015

This bill is filed just in advance of Senator Latvala and Representative Chris Sprowls holding a press conference today at Dunedin Brewery to announce their plans to take on the fight to legalize 64-ounce growlers in Florida.

UPDATE

SB 186 was filed today by Senator Latvala. The bill would specifically allow for growler sales of 32, 64 and 128 ounces. The growlers would require identification of the manufacturer and the brand of beer the growler is filled with.

The bill is available here: https://www.flsenate.gov/Session/Bill/2015/0186/BillText/Filed/HTML