Despite last-minute compromise, craft beer bill seems unlikely to pass in 2014

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A bill allowing craft beer breweries to sell their product in 64-ounce “growlers” will not make it through this legislative session, according to Florida House leaders.

Pepin Distributing CEO Tom Pepin, a major Tampa Bay beer distributor, said he worked out an alternative proposal with craft beer interests on Thursday, reports James Rosica of the Tampa Tribune.

“We have worked out all the details to get the bill heard on the floor,” Pepin said.

However, Rep. Dana Young dismissed the idea immediately.

“Over the last 24 hours, the craft brewers and beer distributors have made great progress toward finding a common sense solution,” the Tampa Republican said. “I am delighted that they are working together to reach a solution.

 “Given that tomorrow is the last day of the 2014 session,” she added, “I do not anticipate a bill this year.”

Young will bring any compromise proposal to the Legislature in 2015.

Speaker Will Weatherford also said restarting the Senate bill (SB 1714) on the last day of the session requires a two-thirds vote, since it did not come up through the proper channels in the House.

Session is scheduled to end Friday night.

“I think the hill’s pretty steep,” Weatherford told the Tribune. “I don’t think the incline has gotten any better for it.”

Senators passed a bill regulating brewers that produce more than 2,000 kegs each year – about 31,000 gallons – prevent them from selling no more than 20% of their product themselves. Anything more than 2,000 kegs must go through distributors.

If the bill is indeed dead, Florida continues to be one of three states that do not permit half-gallon growlers, refillable glass jugs commonly used for taking home beer from a craft beer brewery. Florida law currently only allows quart-size and gallon-size growlers.

 

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.