Beer Law

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

Propaganda Season in the Beer Industry – Force the Distribution Lobbyists to Make Sense

Some of the distribution and retail groups – generally the ones behind the administrative proceedings that sought to challenge the tourism exception – are beginning to ramp up their efforts in the realm of incredibly easy-to-recognize propaganda. The message, as is often the case, will be without context and will focus on ignoring the realities of the situation. Hey, look over here and please don’t question what’s happening over there (let’s focus on the fact that craft beer in Florida exists but not consider how it can thrive further with a more reasonable statutory scheme that works in other parts of the country).

The rallying cry is that the three tier system works. What that means, for many, is let’s not grow. Let’s not evolve. Let’s leave things the way they are. It also means that they want people – legislators, consumers, media – to believe that this is the three […]

By |March 16th, 2015|Blog|0 Comments

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

Come-To-Rest Exception

Florida likes to collect taxes. They want to ensure they get all of them. That’s not a Florida thing. Every government wants what they perceive to be theirs and every government wants to collect revenues.  Florida ranks in the top 10 in the United States in state excise tax rates on beer.  But a funny thing happened on the way to the bank: The Florida Senate’s Committee on Regulated Industries (chaired by Senator Kelli Stargel) introduced a bill that would remove one of the very requirements that purportedly exists to control and monitor that tax revenue. That requirement is the come-to-rest requirement (proper record keeping and thus proper tax collection is easier to verify with checks and balances).

On Tuesday, Senator Jack Latvala exposed Kelli Stargel’s lack of any true understanding of SB 1714 and, with time short in the committee meeting, he clearly felt […]

By |April 10th, 2014|Blog|3 Comments

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

North Carolina Set to Implement New Growler Laws

Updated and more specific growler laws take effect in North Carolina this Friday, October 25, 2013. The laws will allow retailers, such as bottle shops and grocery stores, to fill growlers up to two liters (approx. 68 ounces). Raleigh, NC’s News and Observer, however, reported that not all retail store owners were terribly excited about the implementation of the new laws. The report cites that the regulations will create issues with time and space. These issues arise as a result of the new sanitation and labeling requirements.

Let’s start with the new definition of “growler”. 04 NCAC 02T .0308 now defines a growler as “a refillable rigid glass, plastic, aluminum or stainless steel container with a flip-top or screw-on lid that is no larger than 2 liters (0.5283gallons) into which a malt beverage is prefilled, filled or refilled for off-premises consumption.” The words in bold are additions to the rule.

The […]

By |October 22nd, 2013|Blog|0 Comments