Florida

SB 1714 Update – A Total Farce

UPDATE: I mentioned in the last update that this process should have been much easier given that Florida’s brewers are looking for simple, common sense, measures to be taken. Those would be legalization of the 64 ounce growler and malt beverage tastings conducted by brewers.  Senator Gibson filed a delete all, discussed further below, that would return any debate back to the simplicity necessary and simply allow 64 ounce containers and beer tastings. Senator Thrasher did not want Gibson bringing what was essentially old business (bills stuck in Committee). Her amendment was withdrawn. Simplicity and common sense did not rule the day.

Senator Stargel filed an amendment on Sunday night that would keep unnecessary restrictions but simply ease those restrictions. It would:

  • Allow a brewery to have one vendors license on each brewery premises.
  • Allow sales for off premises consumption in sealed containers over 2,000 kegs so long as it does not top 20% […]
By |April 28th, 2014|Blog|0 Comments

Proposed Amendments to SB 1714 (updated)

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 […]
By |April 18th, 2014|Blog|0 Comments

Flawed Logic

A couple more articles were published today regarding the beer legislation in Florida’s Senate. One of the articles is from Michigan. While there are people learning and writing about the ridiculous nature of the legislation in other markets, it still seems that some of those in the Senate still don’t truly understand the relevant context of the legislation.

According to one article, Senator Kelli Stargel, the sponsor of SB 1714, said the craft industry has thrived under the exception originally created to allow Busch Gardens to sell its beer directly to consumers. The thriving craft beer industry means more taxes collected by the State of Florida. More importantly, the exception was created to promote tourism, not to promote only Busch Gardens. The exception never specifies theme parks or theme parks developed by Anheuser-Busch. There is a reason for that. Tourism is good for Florida and its economy whether […]

By |April 15th, 2014|Blog|0 Comments

Amendments to SB 1714 (update)

I mentioned on Twitter (https://twitter.com/KomlossyLaw) this past weekend that the deadline for amendments, including proposed committee substitutes and delete everything amendments, to SB 1714 (the bad beer bill in the Senate), was today (Monday, April 7, 2014) at 3:00.  The deadline has come and gone and the proposed amendments are as follows:

While the original bill would only include bottles of 32, 64 and 128 ounces to be sold as growlers, the amendment from Senator Stargel would include all sizes between (and including) 32 ounces and one gallon within the definition of a “growler”.

Senator Latvala filed seven amendments, including one that would delete the specified growler sizes altogether and allow for any size growler and also specifically included plastic as an appropriate container type for a growler.

Latvala’s other amendments would do the following:

  • Removes the language requiring a brewery to sell its […]
By |April 7th, 2014|Blog|3 Comments

Beer Bills Bring Dishonesty and Half-Truths

This blog was inspired by Mitch Rubin’s recent comments (proclaiming to support craft beer) that were reported in the Gainesville Sun. Mitch Rubin is the executive director of the Florida Beer Wholesalers Association (this is the group that represents ABInBev and has generally done their bidding). Rubin, who has cited “public health concerns” in the past when asked about blocking growler bills, again noted the need to protect the three tier system.  As we discussed previously, the three tier system isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be.  Plus, with groups like the Florida Beer Wholesalers Association doing what Anheuser Busch’s money tells them to do, does the three tier system really operate as it is meant to or the way that Mitch Rubin claims it needs to? The largest manufacturer is influencing the political process via one of those tiers that Rubin claims must be […]

By |April 3rd, 2014|Blog|2 Comments

Update on Senate Bill SPB 7120

We talked last week about SPB 7120, which received consideration from the Senate Regulated Industries Committee yesterday.

Early Wednesday morning (the day that the bill received consideration), Senator Audrey Gibson (representing a portion of Duval County) filed an amendment that would have caused 7120 to follow the amended language of HB 1329 (which essentially followed the previously filed HB 7075). Gibson seemingly filed the amendment in an attempt to create consistency with the House Bill. She spoke for a bit on Wednesday and noted the importance of the craft beer industry in Florida and noted its ability to revitalize neighborhoods. Stories of such revitalization have made news across the country (look to Oakland, portions of Kentucky and Cleveland for example). Gibson was right, but she withdrew her amendment early in the process after apparently realizing/determining that any language to be added to the bill would need work. It’s not the […]

By |March 27th, 2014|Blog|4 Comments

Komlossy Law, P.A.’s Ross Appel was Featured in Two Recent Articles About Craft Beer Trademarks

Please click on the following links to read recent articles in which Ross was consulted regarding craft beer trademark issues.

As the Craft-Beer Industry Grows, So Does the Battle for Branding – Ross discussed, with David Minsky of the Broward/Palm Beach New Times, the need for trademark owners to use their mark in commerce and to police their rights. He also talked about the prevalence of cease-and-desist letters in the brewing industry and touched upon geographically descriptive trademarks.

Trademark dispute brewing over use of ‘Nitro’ – Ross talked with Eric Gorski of the Denver Post about Left Hand Brewing Company’s attempt to trademark the term “Nitro” as it applies to beer and what a federally registered trademark for NITRO would empower and obligate Left Hand to do.

By |March 20th, 2014|News|0 Comments

Don’t pay an attorney just to file your trademark application(s).

BeerPhoto

I recently reviewed a listing of applied-for trademarks which demonstrate that many attorneys are clearly not providing their clients with substantive information regarding whether their marks are likely to register and why/why not.  Many attorneys clearly don’t take the time to discuss the trademark process with their clients.  They don’t seem to provide information regarding other marks in existence that may be cited in a refusal based upon a likelihood of confusion.  They don’t seem to explain that a descriptive mark cannot be reserved using an intent to use application or that if that mark is eventually put to use, the effective date will switch to the date it is placed in use rather than the date the application is filed (and thus falling behind any later-filed marks).  After seeing a number of these marks that suggest a […]

By |March 12th, 2014|Blog, Uncategorized|3 Comments

The Big Beer Bill to Stifle Florida Craft Beer was Filed in the House

The bill we knew was coming (“Big Beer Bill”) in the aftermath of the self serving comments from Eric Criss just a month ago was filed in the Florida House of Representatives yesterday.  Criss is president of Beer Industry of Florida, Inc., a Tallahassee-based trade association of Florida’s largest beer distributors.

Criss (not so) implicitly gave the beer distributors credit for drunk driving fatalities, arrests and convictions dropping.  He added that it was the three tier system that followed prohibition and the role of distributors that helped curb social problems such as high-volume drinking, domestic violence and worse (credit to him for an attempt to instill fear in the hearts of unsuspecting readers that have not yet reached the part of the article that says who he is and why he is writing the piece).  Of course, the misplaced argument fails to mention that other laws […]

By |March 4th, 2014|Blog|15 Comments

Is a Mandatory Three Tier System Necessary?

The three tier system has been in place since the repeal of Prohibition. Some advocate for it (large distributors and the brewing giants whose beer they distribute) and others don’t believe a strict mandatory three tier system is necessary to accomplish the goals it is designed to promote (me, craft brewers).  I am writing this to provide just a bit of background, a bit of opinion and to perhaps stimulate discussion.

The Three Tier System: (Shortly) How/Why?

Prohibition was a disaster.  As it neared its end, John D. Rockefeller, Jr. commissioned a study by Raymond Fosdick (attorney) and Albert Scott (engineer) to provide the states with guidance on regulating alcohol.  The 21st Amendment ended prohibition and provided the states with control over regulating the production and sale of alcohol. Fosdick and Scott made it the highest priority to prevent a system that allowed tied-houses.  A tied […]

By |January 27th, 2014|Blog|6 Comments