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Beer keg deposit bill would benefit theme parks

in Statewide/Top Headlines by

New legislation affecting bulk users of beer kegs was filed at the behest of the state’s theme parks, according to one of Tallahassee’s top beer lobbyists.

The bill (HB 1079) was filed Monday by state Rep. Ray Rodrigues, an Estero Republican.

Under the measure, instead of charging certain customers a deposit on each individual keg bought, distributors could set up an “inventory and reconciliation process” in which buyers would pay up once or twice a year based on what they used.

It also says the deposit “charged to a vendor for a draft keg or container of a like brand must be uniform.”

Theme parks use thousands of kegs a year, and having to keep track of each deposit has proved an administrative nightmare.

“It was a reasonable compromise and a fair deal between business partners,” said Eric Criss, president of Beer Industry of Florida, the state’s trade group for distributors of MillerCoors products and craft brews.

Criss also referred questions to Adam Babington, the registered lobbyist for Walt Disney Parks and Resorts. He was not immediately available for comment Monday afternoon.

Before joining Florida Politics, journalist and attorney James Rosica was state government reporter for The Tampa Tribune. He attended journalism school in Washington, D.C., working at dailies and weekly papers in Philadelphia after graduation. Rosica joined the Tallahassee Democrat in 1997, later moving to the courts beat, where he reported on the 2000 presidential recount. In 2005, Rosica left journalism to attend law school in Philadelphia, afterwards working part time for a public-interest law firm. Returning to writing, he covered three legislative sessions in Tallahassee for The Associated Press, before joining the Tribune’s re-opened Tallahassee bureau in 2013. He can be reached at jim@floridapolitics.com.

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