Suncoast breweries affected by new bill passed to sell 64 oz. 'growlers'

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SARASOTA, Fla. -- The Florida Senate's Community Affairs committee has passed a bill concerning Floridians taking home beer from breweries.

Craft breweries will finally be able to sell their brew in 64-ounce containers called 'growlers'. 32-ounce containers have been legal, and so have 128-ounce sizes; however, the middle size of 64 ounces has not been legal to take home for consumption.

A stipulation in the new bill requires the brewers to sell their 64-ounce beer containers to distributors first, and then buy it back at an up-charged price.

The Brewer at Sarasota Brewing Company, Vincent Pelosi, said this bill would not affect their company, but that for other companies like JDub's Brewery, “this law would force the brewers to sell their bottled product back to the distributors and then the distributor has every right to refuse to sell it back to them! They are able to sell (the beer) in their own tasting rooms for the tourists to come and visit their breweries.”

Pelosi said this bill is supporting the three-tier system that forces small businessmen to check in with a large corporations, that in turn controls the market place. 

Brewmaster at Big Top Brewing Company in Sarasota, Josh Wilson, said his company will be directly affected.  "The fact that they (the Senate) passed the 64-ounce growlers is great, everybody has been wanting them for a long time. But the fact that it is going to be at a cost to the brewery or brewers is sad."