GrassLands Toasts New License

Jul 2, 2015
A glass of beer up close
GrassLands Brewing Co. / WFSU News

GrassLands Brewery Co., is officially approved to brew and sell its own beer. Getting that approval has been a long process.

Finally legal to fill, 64 ounce growlers line the walls.
Nick Evans

64 ounce growlers—the refillable bottles used for beer—are now legal in Florida after a three year legislative campaign.

Florida Senators will soon be voting on whether to allow 64 oz. growlers in the state.
Kim Salmons via Flickr

A bill allowing 64 ounce growlers is headed to the floor of the Florida Senate.

Sen. Jack Latvala (R-Clearwater)
The Florida Channel

The Senate Commerce and Tourism committee took up the state’s growler ban Monday.  Measures doing away with the state’s restriction continue to march forward in both chambers of the Legislature.

State lawmakers will consider changes to Florida's drug laws in the coming session.
Pete Zarria

In the coming session, lawmakers will take up proposals altering the state’s policy for tobacco, marijuana, and alcohol.  Among the three, Florida’s drug policy could look quite a bit different by the time legislators head home.

The Florida Channel

Senators are issuing a stern warning to the state’s beer distributors: check your opposition at the door.  Lawmakers seem determined to settle ongoing disputes between the craft brewing and distribution industries.

What craft brewers need is the ability to serve their beer where they brew it, in what’s known as a tap or tasting rooms.  What they really want is the growler.  The 64 ounce refillable bottle is illegal in Florida, but the state’s craft brewers think it’s the perfect size for their growing industry. 

A handful of bills in the Florida Legislature aim to roll back bottle size restrictions for beer.
Kim Salmons via Flickr

Florida House and Senate subcommittees heard testimony Wednesday from stakeholders in the state’s beer industry.  After failing twice, a bill to legalize a popular refillable bottle is up for a third try.

Proof Brewing Company's vats at the Railroad Square brewery.
Nick Evans

It seems there’s new trouble brewing for Florida’s small but growing craft beer industry.  The Florida Retail Federation is challenging a long-standing exception to the state’s licensing rules that allows a brewery to sell beer in on-site ‘tasting’ or ‘tap’ rooms.  But this isn’t the only attack the state’s rules have drawn.

Beer is bipartisan.  Really, it’s hard to imagine something more people can agree on.  But, unfortunately in Florida, beer is a political issue.

Capital Report: 12-26-2014

Jan 5, 2015

Months of criticism against the state’s standardized testing systems has culminated in the Florida Department of Education’s call for a review. Lynn Hatter reports throughout the year parents and school districts have raised concerns that the state is not prepared for massive changes going into effect this school year.

Florida is one of only two states in the country with a 64 ounce restriction.  The other is Utah.
Kim Salmons via Flickr

Craft-brewing in Florida is big business getting bigger, but many within the community are unhappy about a certain size restriction.  In Florida it's legal to fill large bottles known as growlers—just not in the industry-standard size of 64 ounces.  But the craft brewing community is mobilizing again this year to get rid of the size regulation.

Mike and Bobby Carbonell are brothers and they run a little shop called Growler Country. 

Gabe Grass
Jessica Palombo / WFSU News

Florida’s craft beer brewers have been pushing for years to remove a law keeping them from selling containers of a certain size. But a Senate bill that does away with that restriction also adds a different rule brewers say would hurt their booming business.

Following a national trend, the number of craft breweries in Tallahassee is expected to double in the near future. In a warehouse six blocks from the Florida Capitol, Gabe Grass is about to open the third microbrewery within a mile radius.

LHatter / WFSU News

Over the past several years Governor Rick Scott has touted Florida as a refuge from “burdensome regulations” and has made it a goal to promote job creation in the state. But as Florida’s unemployment rate has fallen below the national average some groups argue the state continues to over-regulate businesses—and one group is targeting several industries it says are prime for de-regulation.

Wikimedia Commons

Craft beers from microbreweries are steadily increasing their share of the alcohol market throughout the U.S. But, one lawmaker says the Sunshine State’s archaic beer regulations are holding Florida’s burgeoning craft beer industry back.