Dear 64 oz Growler, Florida Doesn’t (Intentionally) Hate You

The Florida law outlawing the 64 oz growler was never about the 64 oz growler.

Used with Permission from Creative Commons

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.

That Senate report, called Review of The Malt Beverage Container Size Restrictions, proposed changing the container size limitations by allowing any size 32 oz or less. The report concluded that the change would help domestic microbreweries (both in and outside of Florida) and foreign breweries, by allowing them to offer beer pre-packaged in a range of bottle sizes, and the Florida retailers who trade in specialty beers. At the same time, allowing containers of any size 32 oz or under would not impact large domestic breweries, distributors, and retail chains. The 1999 Senate report makes no mention of growlers at all.

In 2001, the Florida Legislature passed Senate Bill 202, which adopted the 1999 Senate report’s recommendation to eliminate size limitations below 32 oz, and it was signed into law by Governor Jeb Bush. The law has remained unchanged since then, despite legislative efforts in 2013 and 2014 to eliminate size limitations altogether or at least specifically authorize the 64 oz growler.

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