An old Prohibition-era packaging law in Florida allows for 32-ounce and gallon-sized growlers but not 64-ounce growlers.
March 24, 2014

​MIAMI – Of the half-dozen bills about beer that have been filed in the Florida Legislature, two proposals seek to do two things: allow for beer tastings in certain stores and legalize 64-ounce growlers, reports WLRN.

Florida’s ban dates back to a Prohibition-era packing law that allows for 32-ounce and gallon-sized growlers but not the half-gallon size. State legislators such as Sen. Jack Latvala, who introduced legislation allowing for 64-ounce growlers, want to change the law, thanks to the popularity of craft beer and growth of small brewers within the state.

“I’ve never had beer out of a growler, but I do know that this is a very rapidly expanding industry within our state,” Latvala said. “We’re all interested in jobs, we’re all interested in a strong economy, and I think this bill will go a long way to helping bring that about.”

State Rep. Kathleen Passidomo introduced a bill that would allow beer sampling at certain locations: “For example, it restricts the off-premise tastings to vendors that are larger than 10,000 square feet, limits the total amount of products that can be tasted at any given vendor tasting up to 576 ounces, which is about two cases of 12 bottles,” Passidomo said, “and it requires the tastes be served in 3-ounce cups or smaller.”

The news source adds that state Rep. Darryl Rouson told lawmakers he has concerns about convenience stores being able to offer beer samples. “There’s some willingness to let this go forward today based on what we’ve heard and what we’ve been asked to do, but it is not without some serious concerns on specific issues,” he said.

The Institute for Justice in Miami included the ban on 64-ounce growlers to its “Dirty Dozen” list of statutes in Florida that should be repealed. “In states outside of Florida, this industry is absolutely booming,” Ari Bargil, co-author of the report, said. “By allowing growlers to be sold either in stores or on the premises, you’re opening up a new market for producers and you’re allowing consumers to obtain a product that they would buy and would have interest in if only it were legal.”

Bargil told WLRN that big brewers see craft brewers as a threat, noting that they want to protect their market share by keeping current law in tact.

However, the Associated Press reports that Anheuser-Busch is supportive of legalizing half-gallon growlers in Florida. Doug Bailey, vice president of industry affairs, said in a released statement that the brewer supports deregulation of container sizes as long as growlers meet the same safety, packaging and labeling standards other beers have to follow.

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