64 ounce growler

Beer Bill Passes Unanimously

The Senate’s malt beverages bill that includes the legalization of the 64 ounce growler passed the House today with a unanimous vote. Much of the news has focused on the excitement of the new found freedom of the 64 ounce growler. There is more to the bill in its final form than simply a growler bill. This lays out the material terms of the bill.

Most importantly to the craft brewers, this deletes the tourism exception. Once there is a brewery, that brewery can be issued a vendors license on the premises. This does create a new limit of 8 vendors licenses that each brewery may hold. It is not terribly likely that the limit of 8 would impact many breweries in the State, but it is a new restriction that the distribution lobby will look to make more restrictive in the future.

The bill also limits transfers from one brewery location […]

By |April 24th, 2015|Blog|4 Comments

Where We Are With 2015 Malt Beverage Legislation

I have been asked a few times in recent days for a quick update of where things generally stand as we near the halfway point in the 2015 legislative session.  This is that:

Senate Bill 186, filed by Senator Jack Latvala, began as the straightforward growler bill that the distribution lobby claimed they would unconditionally support. While it began by simply adding language that would allow 64 ounce growlers and controlled who could sell them and listed labeling requirements, it has grown quite a bit.

It now removes the tourism exception so that the law simply states that a manufacturer may obtain a vendors license on property consisting of a single complex that includes a brewery.  Simply, if you have a brewery, you can have a vendors license on the premises (taproom). This way, the distributors and retailers no longer require clarification from Florida’s ABT to explain what the tourism exception means.

It limits […]

By |March 27th, 2015|Blog|0 Comments

Christmas Eve: State Files Reply in Support of its Motion to Dismiss Growler Suit

It’s Christmas Eve, so the State filed its reply in support of its motion to dismiss the growler lawsuit. The State generally built some straw men and knocked them down with ease.

Defendants began by arguing simply that the statutory purpose of avoiding excessive consumption cannot be refuted by plaintiff. Defendants state that “here is certainly no question that the intent of precluding the sale of beer in containers between 32 ounces and 1 gallon was to decrease the likelihood of excessive drinking and to encourage alcoholic beverage vendors to be prudent in their serving practices.” There is certainly question. Without such question, Florida wouldn’t be mocked for having this law on the books and for continuously defending the restriction while reality and the rest of the country prove that more containers sizes do not lead to excessive drinking. Defendants probably wouldn’t have been sued if there […]

By |December 24th, 2014|Blog|0 Comments

Growler Suit Update

The day after Senator Latvala filed his straight-forward growler bill that would leave the container laws in place and specifically allow growlers of 32, 64 and 128 ounces, there are some updates on the growler litigation filed in Federal court.

First, Judge Robin L. Rosenberg quickly denied a motion for oral argument on the State’s motion to dismiss. Plaintiff sought the hearing as a strong opportunity to make the clear point that the statute in place is completely irrational and has no rational relationship to any government interest. The Judge will rule based upon the papers.

At the motion to dismiss stage, a court will accept all factual allegations contained in the complaint as true and construe the complaint liberally in favor of the plaintiff. Ultimately, if a complaint may give rise to the entitlement of relief that can be awarded by the court, it should not be dismissed. While it is a […]

By |December 17th, 2014|Blog|0 Comments

The State Will Fight: Files a Motion to Dismiss Growler Suit

The Office of the Attorney General, on behalf of Defendants Lawson and Spicola (DBPR and ABT), filed its Motion to Dismiss the “growler lawsuit” this morning.  The incorporated memorandum of law in support of the motion generally lays out a history lesson of how the statute was originally enacted, provides some red herring arguments in support of dismissing the lawsuit and includes a semi-hilarious explanation of why the container size law is “rational.”

As discussed in a previous post, the defendants here must only prove that the challenged law is rationally related to a legitimate government interest. It is the most lenient standard for judicial review available. Plaintiff has the burden of proving that the law serves no conceivable legitimate purpose.

Defendants mostly skirt the issue of rationality. They do bring it up briefly on three separate occasions. They argue, for example, that “iven that consumers are significantly more likely to attempt […]

By |November 19th, 2014|Blog|1 Comment

Legal Challenge of Florida’s Container Size Laws

Most are probably aware now that a lawsuit has been filed against the State of Florida (the Secretary of Florida’s Department of Business and Professional Regulation, which oversees the Division of Alcoholic Beverages and Tobacco and the Director of the Division of Alcoholic Beverages and Tobacco) seeking a declaration that Florida’s container size limitations are unconstitutional and enjoining enforcement of the container size limitations. Those container size limitations ban all containers between 32 and 128 ounces, thus making it illegal to sell or fill the industry standard 64 ounce growler. The suit was filed on behalf of a craft beer retailer that operates in Stuart.

Now that the suit has been filed, what kind of interesting things may follow? First, will the State defend this lawsuit? It’s relatively indefensible and may just be a waste of time and money. Defendants must simply prove that the challenged law is rationally related to […]

By |October 29th, 2014|Blog|1 Comment

Florida Beer Compromise?

With the legislative session underway and the insulting HB 1329 filed, now is probably a good time to look at the other malt beverage bills out there to see what they are up to. HB 1329, filed on Monday, may have the affect of being so utterly ridiculous that it diverts attention from the other malt beverage bills. Those bills are likely to get some edits and turn into “compromises”.  HB 7075 may be that compromise. The folks behind the drafting of the Big Beer Bill may hope they can have people “look over there” while unfavorable changes are made to the other malt beverage bills.

Here is a rundown:

HB 7075 – The “Compromise” Bill to HB 1329? (filed last Friday, February 28. 2014)

  • Allows self-distribution of up to 3,000 gallons
  • Allows for a “taproom” on the brewery premises without the need for a separate vendor’s license
  • Brewers could sell their own […]
By |March 6th, 2014|Blog|0 Comments

How Much Beer is Too Much? Florida Law says 64 Ounces is Too Much. 128 Ounces is Not?

craft-beer-week-new-york-city-photo-ccWhile small breweries around the country were providing consumers with new tastes and quality beer, Florida lagged behind.  Just as Florida lagged behind in the craft brew craze, Florida’s laws lag behind the rest of the country as Florida’s craft beer industry is burgeoning.  Specifically, Florida’s craft breweries can fill its consumers’ 32 ounce (1 quart) and 128 ounce (1 gallon) growlers ((A growler is a refillable container or jug into which tap beer is poured for home consumption.)), but any sizes in between are illegal.  That includes, of course, the 64 ounce growler, which also happens to be the industry’s standard size. ((The 64 ounce growler is also illegal in Utah.))

During Florida’s recently completed legislative session, a bill was introduced that would have legalized the 64 ounce growler.  The bill died in the Business & Professional Regulation Subcommittee.  Why?  (Lobbyists/Special Interests). […]

By |July 10th, 2013|Blog|Comments Off on How Much Beer is Too Much? Florida Law says 64 Ounces is Too Much. 128 Ounces is Not?