Published in the Tampa Tribune, Sunday, April 27, 2014
By Chris Ingram
In what has to be the new poster child of the laws of unintended consequences, craft beer brewers and their beer-drinking enthusiasts have to be scratching their heads and asking, “What happened?”
Craft brewers — or microbrewers — had gotten the Florida Legislature to consider a bill to allow the sale of growlers, half-gallon sized containers of beer that are prohibited by state law. Along with Florida, growlers are illegal in only two other states.
But before the growler bill they were advocating got to a vote, the Senate Rules Committee passed an amended bill that would allow the sale of growlers but would also heavily restrict the sale of virtually all craft beer sold by microbrewers.
The devil is in the details.
SB 1714 would permit the sale of growlers by microbrewers who sell fewer than 2,000 kegs of beer per year. So far so good, but not great. Brewers producing more than 2,000 kegs per year would be permitted to sell growlers, but they would also be required to distribute all of their beers, regardless of size, through an established beer distributor.
The effect of the distribution requirement would be higher costs to consumers, since the beer distributors would be due a large cut for their role as a middle man. Adding insult to injury, any microbrewery in the state producing over 2,000 kegs would have to sell its beer to the distributor and then buy it back (after a mark-up from the distributor), to sell their own beer in their own microbrewery.
Is it any wonder we call it the “Flori-duh” Legislature?
Chris Ingram is the president and founder of 411 Communications a corporate and political communications firm, and publisher of Irreverent View. Ingram is a frequent pundit on Fox News and CNN, and has written opinion columns for the Washington Times, UPI, and National Review online. He is the Republican political analyst for Bay News 9, the only 24 hour all news channel in Florida’s largest media market. The opinions expressed here are those of author and do not represent the views of Bay News 9. E-mail him at: Chris@IrreverentView.com.
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