The 2014 session of the Florida Legislature is two months from starting, but already two pairs of craft beer bills put growlers and beer tastings on tap.
**Originally posted on Florida Beer News
Growlers—small, reusable, containers used to take tap-dispensed beer home from your favorite microbrewery—are a mainstay of craft beer culture and consumption. While craft beer is booming in Florida, the state has yet to adopt clear laws or regulations about the filling of growlers. In the Sunshine State, confusion about growlers abounds. This article addresses just one aspect of that confusion—who can fill growlers in Florida?
Brewery Taprooms Can Fill Growlers
Which license must a vendor have in Florida to sell beer, intended by the purchaser to be consumed off-premises, by filling and sealing the purchaser’s growler? It may be a straightforward question, but there is no definite answer in Florida law—neither in the Florida Statutes nor the Florida Administrative Code (the compilation of Florida’s administrative rules). Growler filling is generally permitted by brewery taprooms, which must have a CMB license to make beer and a 2COP license to sell beer or wine for consumption on or off premises. However, whether any other license holders can fill growlers is inexplicable, as demonstrated by two recent situations.
Tipple’s Brews Cannot Fill Growlers
Tipple’s Brews is a beer and wine bar and store in Gainesville, Florida. It has held a 2COP license since October 2009. According to the rules regulating the Florida Division of Alcoholic Beverages and Tobacco (the ABT), which issues 2COP and other licenses, the 2COP allows the holder to sell beer and wine for consumption on the premises or in sealed containers for take-away. Tipple’s began filling growlers early in 2010. In May 2010, the ABT ordered Tipple’s to stop filling growlers. The ABT claimed that filling growlers without a manufacturer’s (CMB) license was a violation of Florida Statutes Section 562.34(1) and a felony.