Friday, March 22, 2013 at 8:14 a.m.
Over the past few years it has become blatantly apparent, corporations rule the regulatory process. Whether it's BP getting a slap on the wrist knocking off Flipper's brothers and sisters, Monsanto suing farmers, or Wal-Mart shutting down family-owned business, we get the drift. The laws tends to favor Goliath at the expense of David.
Today, David made his first move up. A bill that would help Florida craft breweries made its way through the first committee stop in the Senate. Clean Plate Charlie spoke to President of the Florida Brewery Guild, Due South Brewery's
Mike Halker for details.
The bill SB 1344, sponsored by Republican Senator Jack Latvala, would allow breweries to sell 64 ounce containers (growlers) of beer to customers wanting to bring beer home. Today is was unanimously approved in its first Senate committee stop.
Currently, breweries are legally allowed to sell 32 and 128 ounce growlers. The growlers are filled from taps at the breweries. Forty-seven other states legally permit the 64-ounce growlers. When out of state beer aficionados bring their 64-ounce containers, they are unable to be filled due to the restriction.
The deal has been in the works for over a year and a half. The Florida Brewer Guild tried a version of the bill last year that had some other issues attached. It fell apart in the legislature. According to Halker, "This year we stripped it down and have not tried to attach anything else. There are still a lot of laws that need to be changed, but we'll leave it for another day."
The bill still needs to go through multiple committees to pass. The Florida Brewery Guild has been reaching out Senators and Representatives. While in Tallahassee, they met with the governors office. Halker is pleased with the results. In the discussions, Halker and other Guild members focused on highlighting the growing economic importance of the Craft Beer Industry. "We have an industry that is growing like crazy," he said,"It will discourage other brewers from coming into Florida if we don't streamline the process."
For the most part, the bill has garnered ample support. The only major opponent to the bill comes from the Florida Beer Wholesalers Association, the company responsible for the majority of the states Budweiser distribution.