On the eve of the 2014 Florida Legislative session, Representative Ray Rodriguez introduced House Bill 1329, which proposes big changes for the operation of Florida breweries. The stated purpose of HB 1329 is to authorize a “very limited exception to the three-tier system” by allowing breweries to sell their beer in growlers. While the bill does authorize growlers (in two sizes), it also imposes strict requirements on the operation of existing brewery taprooms and ensures that new brewery taprooms will never operate in the same way.
Different Rules for Taprooms Old and New
House Bill 1329 divides Florida’s production breweries into two categories: production breweries licensed before July 1, 2014 and production breweries licensed July 1, 2014 or later.
Legacy breweries–those licensed before July 1, 2014–could continue to operate taprooms under the existing tourism exemption so long as they continue to meet new requirements. The tourism exemption currently allows Florida breweries to operate a taproom where a brewery’s own beer and guest beers and wine can be served for consumption on premises or carry-out for consumption off premises (more on the tourism exemption in Brewers’ Law 101: Florida Brewing Licenses). Under HB 1329 existing taprooms could continue to operate this way as long as: