Beer geeks across the state of Florida have tears in their beers as the bills legalizing 64-ounce growlers didn't make the final cut when the Florida legislature ended its session last Friday
Introduced by Pinellas County Senator Bill Latvala, the bill was aimed at allowing breweries to sell containers of beer larger than 32 ounces, but less than 128 (one gallon). Both sizes are legal in the state of Florida. The industry standard in 47 states is 64 ounces.
Democratic representative Katie Edwards from Plantation introduced the House's version of the bill. In an earlier interview with the New Times, Edwards said it was specifically aimed at boosting the craft beer industry in Florida.
"People now have an appreciation for these craft beers in Florida, and it would be great to let them produce their beers in a size that's more economical for them to obtain," she said. "The law we have now doesn't make too much sense. It's an arbitrary size restriction. It's archaic."
The bill appeared to be gaining steam in the beginning. Then last month Mitch Rubin--a lobbyist representing the Florida Beer Wholesalers Association convinced Rep. Debbie Mayfield, R-Vero Beach, not to give it a hearing in the House Business and Professional Regulation Subcommittee she chairs, according to Fox News. And without receiving the hearing, the bill was effectively dead.
The Florida Beer Wholesalers Association represents the state's Anheuser-Busch distributors. Anheuser-Busch remained neutral on the bill, however Miller-Coors supported it.
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Rubin said he was only trying to protect three-tier alcohol distribution system, which forbids manufacturers of alcohol from selling directly to consumers. Some exceptions were made, such as wineries being able to sell bottles of wine directly to tourists. Schnebly Redland's Winery -- which also owns Miami Brewing Company -- is one such example.
This system was established in the wake of prohibition to prevent another Al Capone-like cartel.