We here at the Blind Tiger Podcast know that beer laws across the country are fragmented, and two bills currently making rounds in the Florida Senate highlight this fact.
The first, SB 470, is a proposal to allow stores to offer tastings of beer. Currently Florida law only allows for tasting samples of wine. Lobbyists for big time players Coors and Budweiser support the bill, but it is being opposed by substance-abuse prevention advocates and also the collective lobbyist for Florida’s Beer Distributors, Mitch Rubin. Both are worried about the effects of offering free samples of alcoholic beverages and Rubin opposes the bill because he believes that the wine and beer industries approach sales very differently and what works for wine would not necessarily work for beer. Essentially he believes that wine aficionados can compose themselves civilly when it comes to imbibing a small, gratis-free drink whereas beer folks would devolve into chaos and anarchy if given the same treatment. The good news is both sides are at the table and discussing compromises to the bill. An amendment should be put up for review to the senate, including the bill’s sponsor, Senator Nancy Detert.
Secondly, SB 406 is a bill that would allow for the sale of beer in 64 oz growlers. 64 oz is by far the most common size, but Florida law currently only allow for the sale of beer in measurements of 32 oz and, amazingly, 128 oz. It seems a bit absurd that a state would allow one to purchase a Double Big Gulp and fill it with soda, but cannot do the same for beer. This bill too has some detractors, but will be up for a vote next month.
Many other states allow both of the proposed measures and have not seen mass pandemonium, but the south tends to be a bit more conservative. If you live in Florida we hope that you can fill your growler soon!