Beer Bill passes House Committee but Stalls in Senate

The bill to repeal the ban on 64-ounce beer growlers was up for consideration in two different committees Wednesday in Florida. The House Business & Professions Subcommittee and Senate Regulated Industries committees both had a chance to hear the bill.

The bill was introduced in the Senate by Sen. Jack Latvala, R- Clearwater, and in the House by Rep. Chris Sprowls, R- Palm Harbor.

Florida and Utah are the lone two states on this bill as 48 other states in the country allow for such sized growlers to be legal.  

Latvala’s bill was stalled as debates on the bill went from one side to the other throughout the meeting. After two hours of debates, committee Chairman Rob Bradley, R-Orange Park, made the decision to postpone the bill.  

“I was very confident that the legislation would not be stymied by requiring craft breweries to change the way they do business to appease the beer wholesalers,” Latvala said.

These groups are concerned that this bill would lead to the deterioration of the three-tiered structure that regulates alcohol in the state of Florida.

Things went differently in the House for Sprowls; his bill passed with zero debate from lawmakers or members of the public.

Bill Naper, a Florida resident, came to speak to the House committee about how he felt as a consumer. Naper brought examples of the 32- and 64-ounce beer growlers which he held as he spoke.

“I don’t understand how I can fill this canister up as many times as I want. But it’s a crime to have just one of these,” Naper said.

Matt Sokolowski also attended the meeting as a board member of the Great Bay Distributors.

“Our company would prefer a clean repeal of the ban on 64-ounce growlers. The three-tier system of alcohol distribution is hurting growth and expansion,” Sokolowski said.

The bill must now be passed through two more committees in the House as well as three in the Senate.