My fellow Florida craft beer fans. The craft beer community needs you. You may have noticed that craft beer is growing at an amazing (or alarming rate) lately, while at the same time, sales are dropping for the mass produced industrial light lagers. This trend has the big beer people worried. So much so, in fact, that the big beer distributors have just convinced Florida House Rep Ray Rodrigues to introduce a bill (called HB1329) into the FL House of Representatives that would severely damage the future of our community.
House bill 1329, if ratified, would do the following:
- Outlaw the use of a 128 ounce growler and place additional restrictions on growler filling.
- Place restrictions on guest taps
- Require breweries with tasting rooms to intend to sell an undefined amount of beer through distributors. (Goodbye tiny nano breweries with no distribution) -Eliminate tasting room only beers
- Eliminate the sale of any collaboration beers on at tasting rooms
- Impose a bunch of other restrictions on craft breweries too numerous to name. (To learn more about HB1329 you can go here: http://komlossylaw.com/bigbeerbill/, or here: http://www.myfoxtampabay.com/video?&clipId=9955427&autostart=true, or here: http://www.miamiherald.com/2014/03/16/3998610/beer-distributors-brewers-fight.html#morer
Overall, the bill seems targeted to squash the really small craft breweries that operate tasting rooms but don’t distribute much beer to bars or retailers. This bill is bad for local small businesses, destroys jobs, and hurts tourism and our economy.
“That’s awful!” you say. “I love the craft beer community here in Tampa Bay. I wish there was a way I could help that would be totally free and take less than 30 minutes of my time.” You, my friend, are in luck. Cause there is a great way to help. Right NOW is a pivotal moment in the legislative process. This HORRIBLE, craft beer killing bill is about to be reviewed over the next week by an important committee that has the power to kill this bastard, demon spawn of a bill before it has a chance to draw it’s first breath. If we all act NOW we can help convince the committee reviewing it that they should kill it.
Here’s what we all need to do: (Free, less than 30 minutes, effective)
First, Call the leaders of the committee and tell them to kill HB1329. I just finished calling them all, and the staff members are really nice, so be polite to them. You just tell the staff member who answers that you are against HB1329 and they make a note of it and pass along that info to their boss. Or you leave your statement against HB1329 on the answering machine. Easy!
- Rep. Debbie Mayfield, Chair (850) 717-5054
- Rep. Greg Steube, Vice Chair (850) 717-5073
- Rep. Darryl Rouson, Ranking Member (850) 717-5070
Step 2: Follow that up with a quick e-mail. Two communications counted = twice the influence. Just push the “e-mail representative” button here:
That’s it! Three quick phone calls. Three quick e-mails. Suddenly the leadership of the committee reviewing the big beer bill will start hearing that voters hate this bill. Our legislators really do listen to what voters want, but you have to tell them. If you love craft beer please stand with us and help safeguard the future of the craft brewing community. You can’t complain if you don’t make your voice heard, now.
P.S. If you’re really fired up you can contact the entire committee that will be reviewing the bill here: