legislation

Growler Bill Closer to Reality (with a bit of a catch)

On Wednesday, a proposed amendment to CS/SB 186 was filed that would place an artificial cap on the number of vendor licenses that a brewery in Florida may obtain.  There is currently no such limit but the amendment would set the limit at 9.  This would mean that any given brewery could open nine total breweries that have taprooms.  Any additional manufacturing location would not be allowed to sell beer on site. Breweries that are already licensed are, in effect, grandfathered in and allowed 9 additional vendor-licensed breweries.

This bill started as a simple and straightforward growler bill.  Late last year, the Florida Beer Wholesalers Association (FBWA) stated that they “believe it is now time to separate the growler from the larger conversation.”  However, soon after, two retail organizations sought to challenge Florida’s “tourism exception” and the FBWA and the Beer Industry of Florida (BIF) sought to intervene and support […]

By |April 1st, 2015|Blog|0 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

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

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

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