Joey Redner, Cigar City Brewing founder and CEO, learned some hard lessons after the 2014 legislative session, where the Florida Brewer’s Guild failed to change Florida law to legalize the 64 oz. beer containers known as “growlers.”
One is to invite lawmakers from Tallahassee first, before going to the Capitol so they can see the business in action.
“Lawmakers who voted with us were the ones in the districts that could see what kind of work we do,” Redner told Chris Wilkerson of the Tampa Bay Business Journal on Friday during Hillsborough County Commissioner Mark Sharp’s Tech Talk forum.
Florida legislators most open to the requests of the Brewer’s Guild were ones who drive past craft breweries every day, seeing them as part of an emergent industry.
The other is to engage your customer base, getting them to realize the need for changes in the law.
Florida craft beer fans took to social media — Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook — to get out the word about the progress of the law as it moved through the Capitol. The grassroots push helped educate people and give legislators valuable feedback, Redner said.