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Growler beer draws unanimous vote, Jack Latvala to consider tasting restrictions

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The Senate Commerce and Tourism Committee quenched Sen. Jack Latvala’s thirst for votes by unanimously passing his proposal to end the state’s prohibition on growler-size beer containers.

Florida law allows beer to be sold in sizes up to 32 ounces and more than 128 ounces but not in the half-gallon containers that are the favorite of craft beer aficionados nationwide.

Latvala started out, he explained to the committee, with just a growler beer but the Regulated Industries Committee put more hops into it by also addressing tasting rooms and manufacturer-to-manufacturer issues, raising the concerns of safety and family oriented groups.

Susan Pittman of the Florida Coalition Alliance listed five items that were included in last year’s failed growler bill that addressed her concerns but are not in the proposal moving through the legislature this year.

She asked for consideration of three provisions tightening regulations on tasting events and two, restricting zoning of retail establishments and the size of containers they sell.

“Simple steps to ensure safety and best practices for tasting,” Pittman told the Committee.

Latvala said there was no intention to make the tasting room regulations any looser than they were last year and that Monday was the first he had heard of Pittman’s concerns about the proposal and suggestions to improve it.

“But now that I’ve heard them, we’re going to try to make them,” Latvala said in response to a question from the Chair, Sen. Nancy Detert.

Pittman wants to restrict tastings to one manufacturer, prohibit payment for hosting a tasting and the holding of a tasting event in a parking lot or outside in general.

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