Sweeping Pro-Craft Bill Introduced in FL

A broad and sweeping bill has been filed by a Florida State Rep. Greg Steube (R-Bradenton) which would have a number of positive impacts on the states craft brewers.

House Bill 107, in its current form, would address franchise agreements, allow 64 ounce growlers, allow a small amount of self-distribution and clarify brewery tasting room rights.

The most significant change to the states franchise provisions would enable brewers who make up less than 50 percent of a wholesaler’s business to sign written agreements that carry a maximum term of five years. Currently all suppliers must prove “cause” for termination, a very difficult standard for small brewers with minimal legal resources.

The bill would also allow breweries producing less than 5,000 barrels to self-distribute.

Under the new bill, craft breweries would continue to be able to operate tasting rooms. Currently, small brewers are granted a “tourism exemption” to retail beer at the brewery. This exception has come under fire recently by both wholesalers and retailers and there was concern that the tasting room exception might be removed.

Brewers in Florida can now sell growlers of 32 and 128 ounces, but the industry standard 64-ounce containers are prohibited. The bill would change that by amending the definition of a growler to mean any container created to hold malt beverages between 32 and 128 ounces.