- Florida allows craft breweries to fill and sell beer in various jugs, known as "growlers," ranging from quart to gallon sized. But this does not include the most popular "growler" of them all, the half-gallon.
- Craft brewers have been working to repeal the law, which seems devoid of any reason.
- The repeal is unlikely to go through because of the lobbying power of big beer interests.
As we've seen in Food Dive's feature Craft beer goes mainstream, the standard varieties of big beer brands have been declining while craft beer sales have been on the rise. In Florida, big beer is attempting to use big money to thwart the growing craft beer industry by blocking an unreasonable law from being repealed. Senate President Don Gaetz, a Republican who calls himself a "free-market, anti-regulation, pro-business legislator," does not support those principles when they are at odds with what Lewis Bear, an Anheuser-Busch InBev distributor, wants. Gaetz admits that Bear, a big GOP donor, is a personal friend, and the he will vote in his interest on the matter.
While half-gallon growlers are already legal in 47 states, Baer insisted on legislation that limits the craft brewery industry if the size is allowed in Florida. It's understandable that he has some cause for worry, given that craft breweries have grown from a mere six in 2007 to a likely 78 this year. But he would be better off playing fair, allowing all beer equal access to market, rather than muscling out the little guy. Other big beer distributors in Florida have come out in favor of lifting the ban on half-gallon growlers for craft beer. Perhaps they realize that it's not the size of the jug but what's in it that will ultimately determine what people buy. Pulling political strings in this way is not the way to go to sell more beer.