Last month, Gov. Rick Scott signed CS/CS/SB 186, better known as the growler bill. The law, which goes into effect today, gives local breweries the ability to sell and fill 64-ounce growlers. This size, considered the industry standard, joins the already-legal 32-ounce and 128-ounce containers that taprooms across the state have already been peddling. The law also defines the establishments that can sell and fill growlers as follows:
1.A licensed manufacturer of malt beverages holding a vendor’s license under s. 561.221(2).
2.A vendor holding a quota license under s. 561.20(1) or 302 s. 565.02(1)(a) that authorizes the sale of malt beverages.
3.A vendor holding a license under s. 563.02(1)(b)-(f), s. 304 564.02(1)(b)-(f), or s. 565.02(1)(b)-(f), unless such license restricts the sale of malt beverages to sale for consumption only on the premises of such vendor.
Growlers must also be labeled with the name of the beer's manufacturer, brand, and ABV and must be sealed so that the contents cannot be immediately consumed.
The law also allows breweries to grow and expand. A single manufacturer that has multiple breweries can have as many as eight taprooms in those multiple locations, and manufacturers and distributors can now host beer tastings and samplings on premises (providing, of course, that the people enjoying the beers are of legal drinking age).
Many local breweries are embracing the new law. Wynwood Brewing Company will begin offering 64-ounce growlers today, including a stainless-steel, double-walled version that sells for $45. The fancy silver bullet of a growler keeps your beer cool for ten hours, making it perfect for beachgoers and boaters. The regular glass growlers sell for $6, and fills for either version cost $13. Wynwood's Luis G. Brignoni says the growlers are a good option for customers. "It's the industry standard, and we were one of a few states that didn't allow them. I'm glad we're with the times now." To celebrate the new law, the brewery is offering a 25 percent discount on 64-ounce growler fills all day today.
Jonathan Wakefield of J. Wakefield Brewing says that being able to sell 64-ounce growlers is a good step forward for the craft beer industry. "It's the standard across the country that we've been chasing. It's putting us on par with everyone else." Wakefield, who will begin selling 64-ounce growlers in the next few weeks, says the 32-ounce growler, basically two pints, was too small and the 128-ounce was too large. "People can take home a bit more than just a liter now, and the gallon size was just too big, unless you're having a party."
Wakefield cautions customers to be aware that all growler fills have a short shelf life of just a few days. For that reason, the brewer will continue to use 32-ounce growlers for small-batch and collaborative brews and filling the new 64-ounce size with favorites like Hop for Teacher and El Jefe. Wakefield, who has sold more than a thousand 32-ounce growlers since opening his taproom a few months ago, says the new size is also a challenge for small brewers to keep up with the growing demand. "For a lot of guys like myself, 64 ounces is great, but you've also doubled the amount of beer you're selling."
Concrete Beach Brewery's social hall manager, Jesse Morris, is also pleased about Florida breweries' catching up with the rest of the nation's beer community. "Sixty-four-ounce growlers are a standard size around the country. They will give our consumer access to another avenue to experience fresh draft beer at home or with their friends, and when is sharing beer not a great thing?" Morris also asks people to think before going growler-happy. "We do caution our customers to only buy as much as they plan on drinking in the next few days, as the beer loses freshness quickly once the growler is open." Concrete Beach will begin selling the 64-ounce size today and will offer a growler promotion for the holiday weekend. On July 3 and 4, two growlers will be sold for the patriotic price of $17.76. Remember: Two 64-ounce growlers amounts to about eight pints of beer — so be sure to invite a few friends over.
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MIA Brewing Company is offering the 64-ounce growler starting today. Growler fills will start at $12, and the Doral brewery will fill the new size only with their flagship beers for now. MIA beers available for the new growler include Miami Weiss Hefeweizen, 305 lager, M.I.A. IPA, and Tourist Trappe Tripel. Miami Brewing Company at Schnebly Redland's Winery has the growlers in stock but is still working on pricing for the new size. Be sure to check with your favorite brewpub, store, or brewery to make sure it's carrying the 64-ounce growler.