Cigar City’s Joey Redner learned two hard lessons in 2014 legislative session

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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.

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 HRNewsDaily.com. His broad range includes covering news, local government and culture reviews for Patch.com, 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 phil@floridapolitics.com and on Twitter @PhilAmmann.