Self-Distribution

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

Florida House, Senate Committees Discuss Malt Beverage Regulations

Committees within the Florida House and Senate began discussions regarding the regulatory scheme surrounding beer in Florida on Wednesday. It was generally a day for the legislators to discuss the basics and gain some knowledge. In the Senate, the Regulated Industries Committee heard a presentation from an attorney with the Senate. The presentation was a general overview of the three tier system, tied house laws, licensing issues (including tourism exception) and growler/container size issues. The powerpoint presentation can be viewed in the meeting packet here. The Business and Professions Subcommittee in the House heard presentations from groups including the Florida Beer Wholesalers Association, Beer Industry of Florida and the Florida Brewers Guild on the three tier system, self distribution and franchise agreements (the distributor groups said you would rue the day you mess with franchise agreements).

The Regulated Industries Committee includes Senators Latvala and Stargel.  Stargel […]

By |January 22nd, 2015|Blog|0 Comments

Steube Files Beer Bill (HB 107) in the House. Seeks Limited Self-Distribution and Franchise Reform

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 […]

By |December 16th, 2014|Blog|0 Comments

More Breweries Do Not Result in More Drunk Driving Fatalities

If anything, statistics demonstrate an inverse relationship between craft breweries and drunk driving fatalities. Vermont, for example, ranks #1 in the country in capita/craft brewery but ranks 21st in capita/DUI fatality. Oregon ranks #2 in capita/craft brewery but ranks #42 in capita/DUI fatality. Of the top 15 states in capita/craft brewery, only 3 are also ranked in the top 15 in capita/DUI fatality.

These stats cannot tell the whole story, but it does provide some context and a trend. Certain downfalls include the fact that this uses the number of craft breweries rather than the production of beer and that there will be people who are driving under the influence who do not kill (or injure) people. The claim that a change in distribution laws would lead to over-consumption and thus increased DUI deaths and other health issues, like the claim made during the past Florida legislative session, simply cannot withstand […]

By |August 28th, 2014|Blog|0 Comments

Should Florida Breweries Be Selling to Fellow Breweries?

Breweries are no longer sparsely scattered throughout the state. We are seeing concentrations of breweries flourishing in the Tampa/Saint Petersburg area, Jacksonville, Fort Myers, neighborhoods in Miami and soon Tallahassee. As the number of breweries in Florida grows and areas become more concentrated with breweries, those breweries may consider selling their beer directly to one another, rather than using a distributor for such sales.

Florida Statute §561.42(1) focuses on the tied house evil and prevents integration between the tiers. Florida Statute §561.22 performs a similar function as it prohibits the licensing of a manufacturer or distributor as a vendor and vice versa. Meanwhile, Florida Statute §561.14, in its description of license and registration classifications, notes that manufacturers are “licensed to manufacture alcoholic beverages and distribute the same at wholesale to licensed distributors and to no one else within the state, unless authorized by statute.”

The statute that authorizes manufacturers to distribute to […]

By |August 26th, 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

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

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