Florida Craft Distillery Law Change Supports Upward Trend
Craft distilling is starting to go the way of craft brewing in popularity: up. In what was considered a positive law change in the craft distillery industry, the Senate passed a bill that would allow craft distillers to sell more to end users. Where they could only sell two bottles previously, as of the date of this post, they can sell four. In addition, the Florida Department of Transportation would be required to install directional signs to local distilleries for customers on roadways -- a boon to local distilleries that need the support and visibility.
Also as part of the bill, the Senate voted unanimously to legalize the 64-ounce growler as part of its malt beverages bill. This caused much excitement among craft breweries, as previously these growlers were illegal in Florida -- incidentally one of the last states to turn this around. As the industry standard, the 64-ounce growler is the one of the latest additions to the legal containers for craft beers. Previously, only jugs up to a quart or more than a gallon were allowed. This meant that patrons could not take beer home from a craft brewery in refillable growlers (about a half gallon), although the 32-ounce and 128-ounce jugs were allowed.
The language of the bill, presented back in December 2014 for review, gives those in the craft beer business renewed hope for their livelihood. Many craft brewers have been fighting for this law change for many years. But there's much more to the bill than just wording about growlers, though. Here are some of the highlights:
- Brewers can open up to eight tap rooms, where they may offer beer samplings and tasting, sales and fill-ups of growlers. This creation of the new limit of eight vendor licenses deletes the tourism exception that was a highlight of the existing law.
- Limitation of transfers from one brewery location to another to the annual production amount at the location receiving the shipment.
- Vendor-licensed breweries cannot make deliveries. No exceptions.
- Beer made by another manufacturer must be sold through the help of a distributor, whereas the previous law was that beer could be sold directly.
- Manufacturer and distributor tastings can take place at the location of third-party vendors provided they are licensed.
- Customers can now buy up to four bottles a year at craft distilleries instead of the current two.
- The Department of Transportation would now have to install directional signs on roadways to local craft distilleries if the owner requests it.
The battle isn't quite over yet, as the governor still has to put his stamp of approval on the law change. Stay tuned! Meanwhile, StillDragon is your premier source for top-quality, affordable modular craft brewing equipment. Check out the tanks, accessories, components, configurations and more we sell on our website. We are a small family-owned business offering innovative designs in distilling equipment for quick turnarounds thanks to a large, on-hand inventory. We are here to serve you, the innovators and catalysts of the growing distilling movement!