Tampa’s Tom Pepin weighs in on ‘Big Beer vs. craft brewers’ debate

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On Tuesday, the Florida Senate approved a bill Tuesday that would create regulations for the state’s booming craft brewing industry despite arguments that it would stifle job growth.

After the bill passed, a new voice in the debate between ‘Big Beer’ and craft brewers weighed-in — and it was a familiar voice to those active in Tampa Bay politics: Tom Pepin, CEO of Pepin Distributing Company.

“We strongly urge the Florida House to consider taking up and supporting this good public policy that eliminates the tourism exemption and creates a brewer/vendor license, so that craft breweries can be in compliance with Florida law,” said Pepin.

Of note, Pepin’s press release was distributed by Bascom Consulting and Communications, perhaps the leading Republican-leaning public relations firm in Tallahassee. Pepin is already well-represented in the capital by Ron Pierce, Natalie King and the rest of the team at RSA Consulting.

Pepin is a familiar face to many politicos in the Tampa Bay region. During the height of campaign season, a week does not often go by without an event hosted at the TPepin’s Hospitality Centre.

However, despite Pepin’s urging, SB 1714 is likely dead upon arrival in the House, reports James Rosica of the Tampa Tribune.

Rep. Dana Young said procedural hurdles will almost certainly keep the measure off the House floor between now and the end of the yearly legislative session on Friday.

The bill (SB 1714) doesn’t have a House companion, Young noted, “and I don’t see a way around that.”

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.