Beer distributors open the money tap for Florida candidates

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Florida beer and liquor wholesalers provided as much as $1.2 million state office candidates since 2008, as well as $1.8 million more to Florida political parties, according to the National Institute on Money in State Politics.”

“The preponderance of their contributions went to candidates for state house seats ($728,787),” the group published on “The Money Tale” government watchdog blog. “But they also gave a considerable amount ($323,883) to candidates for state senate, of which $288,158 went to those who were ultimately elected to the senate.”

Tampa Tribune reporter James Rosica noted the timing of the blog post coincides with the recent death of SB 1714 a Senate bill that limits brewers making more than 2,000 kegs a year from selling more than 20 percent of their products in-house. Everything else would have to be sold through distributors.

The top beer-related donor to successful Senate candidates from 2008-13 was the Florida Beer Wholesalers Association, an organization representing Anheuser-Busch distributors, which gave $39,500.

The blog post also commented that the only donation from the Florida Brewers Guild, the craft brewers’ association, to a sitting Senator was $500 to Republican Jack Latvala, who voted against the bill.

Phil Ammann is a St. Petersburg-based journalist and blogger. With more than three decades of writing, editing and management experience, Phil produced material for both print and online, in addition to founding His broad range includes covering news, local government and culture reviews for, technical articles and profiles for BetterRVing Magazine and advice columns for a metaphysical website, among others. Phil has served as a contributor and production manager for SaintPetersBlog since 2013. He lives in St. Pete with his wife, visual artist Margaret Juul and can be reached at and on Twitter @PhilAmmann.