When Governor Rick Scott signed into law CS/SB 186, he largely ended Florida’s state of growler confusion. However, the 2015 beverage law–which is now known as Florida Law 2015-12–will do much more to improve the status of craft beverages in Florida when it becomes effective July 1, 2015. This article describes how Florida’s breweries, distilleries, distributors, and vendors can take advantage of the recent improvements to Florida’s Beverage Law.
The Florida Legislature’s 2015 session kicks off in less than a month, on March 3, 2015. If you enjoyed our posts during the last legislative session about the bills that promised to promote or destroy, respectively, Florida craft beverage industry, then head over to to FloridaCraft.org.
We’ll be posting legislative updates on Florida Craft’s website, leaving the Brewers’ Law website for Florida beverage manufacturers who need answers about what the law is, not anxiety about what it might become (remember last year, when nothing happened in the end?).
If you’re a beverage manufacturer or a manufacturer in planning, this is your place for the legal information you need right now. For the rest of you, head over to FloridaCraft.org for my post about House Bill 107, which promises big changes to Florida’s beverage laws to help craft brewers and distillers.
Can a Florida beer bar fill growlers? Can a Florida brewery fill growlers with guest beers? The Florida Beverage Law and related regulations do not provide a clear answer. So we took the next step: we called the government agency in charge, the Florida Division of Alcoholic Beverages & Tobacco (ABT). Actually, we called each of the ABT’s Law Enforcement District Offices, and we asked each of them this question:
“Can a holder of a 2COP license fill growlers (within the legal size limits and properly sealed) for off-premises consumption?”
The answers we got, shown in the table below, were not entirely consistent.
The Florida law outlawing the 64 oz growler was never about the 64 oz growler.
Prior to 2001, the Florida Statutes limited the size of beer containers to 8 oz, 12 oz, 16 oz, 32 oz or 1 gallon and over. That had been the law since 1965, when the limitation on container sizes was first introduced. A record of the legislators’ deliberations isn’t available from those days, but a 1999 Senate report says Florida legislators at the time were mad at Miller Brewing Co for building a plant in Georgia, and the size limitations were aimed at outlawing a 7 oz bottle sold by Miller.
The 2014 session of the Florida Legislature ended, Friday, May 2. Twelve bills were proposed to change Florida laws governing the beverage industry. None of them got passed by both houses of the Legislature. The only beverage bill that got to a floor vote–Senate Bill 1714, which passed the Senate by a vote of 30-10–was loudly decried by Florida brewery owners and their supporters.
In this final weekly update on the 2014 session, we discuss SB 1714’s dramatic passage by the Senate, and its undramatic dismissal by the House. We’ll also review the current state of Florida beverage law. Finally we’ll try to predict what may happen between now and the start of the Florida Legislature’s 2015 session.
Please let us know what you think in our Replies Section. Subscribe to BrewersLaw.com to stay informed.
We don’t want to see Senate Bill 1714 pass in the Florida House of Representatives. It’s bad for Florida breweries and their loyal fans. Florida breweries deserve a bill that is in their language (i.e. barrels, not kegs) and is realistic to keep their industry thriving.
Beer IS business. And like every industry in both State and Federal Governments, breweries merit regulations that serve both the industry and the public. These regulations need to give the public a clear understanding of what the law means.
Senate Bill 1714 falls short of what the Florida beer industry needs and deserves.
- Contact the office of the Speaker of the House, Will Weatherford
- Contact your Local Representative (firstname.lastname@example.org)
- Ask Rep Weatherford & Your Representative not to review Senate Bill 1714 in the House, and tell them Why (i.e. the bill was “slapped together”, or not practical for the Florida brewing industry, etc.).
- Your communication will be much more persuasive if your message is concise and polite.