Earlier this week the FL state senate passed Bill 1714, which would effectively limit the amount of beer sold directly to the public by individual breweries. Before the bill, which was originally meant only to allow for 64 oz growlers (32 oz and 128 oz are already legal) to be sold in the state, breweries were allowed to sell any amount of beer in approved packaging. This is a HUGE means of revenue for breweries and every craft brewery firmly opposed the shape the bill took before the senate passed it.
To give you a better perspective on this, imagine a small farm run by a local family. This farm has a shed for on site produce sales. They also sell to local businesses and other accounts but a large portion of their overall income, say 25-30%, comes from on site sales, and because of the slim margin these sales are even more important to the company. Now, what would happen if the government stepped in and told the farmers they could no longer sell directly to the public but would now have to sell all of their produce to a distributor for public sales? Would that be fair? And, if such a large portion of necessary income came from these sales, how long do you think the farmers could maintain the farm without going deeply into debt or shutting the doors? In addition to this, the customer can now no longer go directly to the source for fresh product which, in many cases, makes a large difference.
This may seem like a bit of a stretch but many of today’s newer breweries compare almost exactly to this scenario. They have a very small market presence, a limited amount of funds, and can use every means of available income. So, to take this away from them would deal a significant blow to the solvency of the business. Thankfully, in this case, it appears that the bill will be defeated in the house. Hopefully, all states will soon begin to take the benefits of brewing seriously and become more friendly to our burgeoning business. Until that time, though, we’ll continue to raise awareness of the issue and work to make craft brewing more universally accepted.
Thanks for your support!