The Law on Growlers in Florida

Growlers are not a new invention. Traditionally, they are glass, ceramic, or stainless steel bottles or jugs used to transport draft beer. They are commonly sold at breweries and brewpubs as a means to sell take-out craft beer. Growlers are generally have either a screw-on cap or a hinged porcelain gasket cap, which can maintain freshness for a week or more.

A recent innovation on the growler is a crowler, which is essentially a growler in a can. Crowlers are favored over glass growlers because they’re cheaper, lighter, and can keep beer fresher longer. The crowler was first developed by Oskar Blues Brewery in partnership with the Ball Technology and Innovation Center.

Despite humble origins, growlers have had a controversial history in Florida. The craft beer industry faced challenges and oppositions in their efforts to legalize use of the 64-ounce growler, even though it contains no more beer than 2 32-ounce growlers. But today, Florida has a specific law that makes clear how growlers (and crowlers) can be used to sell beer and malt beverages.

History and Controversy Surrounding Florida Growlers

In Florida, filling beer and malt beverages in growlers (which includes crowlers) is specifically regulated by Florida Statutes Section 563.06(7). The Florida growler law went into effect in 2015 upon passage of Senate Bill 186. Before the passage of Senate Bill 186, there was significant controversy in Florida concerning beer growlers.

The primary issue was that 64-ounce growlers, the most popular size for craft beer enthusiasts, were illegal in the state. This was despite the fact that 32-ounce and 128-ounce growlers were legal. The 64-ounce size was legal in 47 other states, making Florida an outlier2.

This odd regulation was a result of outdated laws that were originally designed to benefit large tourist attractions like Busch Gardens. These laws required craft breweries to operate as tourist attractions, which was problematic for small, local breweries.

The proposed legislation to legalize 64-ounce growlers faced opposition from some quarters. Critics argued that the bill would allow craft breweries to sell beer directly to consumers, bypassing distributors and potentially hurting their business.

Despite this opposition, Senate Bill 186 was passed in 2015, lifting the requirement for craft breweries to operate as tourist attractions and legalizing 64-ounce growlers. This was seen as a major victory for Florida’s craft beer industry.

Compliance with the Florida Growler Law

Let’s dive deeper into the specifics of Florida’s laws regarding growlers, especially for a licensed beer manufacturer with a 2COP alcohol vendor license.

  1. Growler Sizes: Florida law permits the sale of beer in growlers of 32 ounces, 64 ounces, or 128 ounces. This gives breweries flexibility in offering different quantities to their customers.
  2. Labeling Requirements: Growlers must be sealed and have a label that displays the brewery’s name and address, the brand of the beer, the type of beer, and the alcohol content. This ensures that customers are informed about what they’re purchasing.
  3. Filling and Selling: With a 2COP license, a brewery can fill and sell growlers for off-premises consumption. This means customers can buy a growler at the brewery and take it home to enjoy.
  4. Refilling Growlers: Florida law allows breweries to refill growlers. This encourages reusability and reduces waste.
  5. Health and Safety Regulations: Breweries must comply with health and safety regulations when filling growlers. This includes sanitizing growlers before filling and ensuring that filling equipment is clean and well-maintained.
  6. Record Keeping: Breweries must keep detailed records of their growler sales for tax purposes. This includes the quantity and size of growlers sold.
  7. Penalties: Failure to comply with these regulations can result in penalties, including fines and suspension or revocation of the brewery’s licenses.

In conclusion, Florida’s growler laws provide breweries with a great opportunity to sell their beer directly to consumers in a sustainable way. However, it’s important to understand and comply with all regulations to avoid penalties. If you’re a brewery owner in Florida, consider consulting with a beverage law attorney to ensure you’re in compliance with all relevant laws and regulations.

Do you have any questions about filling and selling growlers in Florida? Contact us to schedule a consultation with a beverage attorney.

Because we’re attorneys: Disclaimer. Originally posted 05/26/2024.

Rate this Post

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars