The Florida state senate has dealt a damaging blow to the craft brewers of Florida. Today, The Senate voted 30-10 to restrict the amount of packaged beer breweries can sell directly to customers. Obviously, craft breweries opposed this law. Currently, there is no limit on how much beer a brewery can directly sell to customers in the state.
The bill (SB 1714) prohibits brewers who produce more than 2,000 kegs of beer a year to sell directly to customers. It requires them to sell to a distributor which raises the cost of the final product. The loss of direct sales would come at a loss to some craft breweries in the neighborhood of $300,000 to $500,000 dollars or more.
Cigar City Brewing’s Joey Redner has been outspoken against the bill, stating that the bill would stifle brewery growth, and even put some small craft breweries under.
Who is behind the bill? Big money donors, lobbyists with Anheuser-Busch InBev who want to protect the 3-tier system. Mitch Rubin, a lobbyist for A-B has stated publicly that he is for draft beer and growler sales at breweries, but is against bottle, can, and keg sales.