Sensible Policymaking

If you're a recipient of GrassLands Brewing Company's weekly newsletters (if you're not, let's rectify that pronto, eh?), you know that we're constant advocates of state policymaking that benefits the craft brewing industry - and to a greater extent, small business and local/state economy.

As many of you know (maybe you don't) the state of Florida only allows 32oz and 128oz containers for "beer to go" from brewery taprooms. The industry standard size "growler" is 64oz - and by industry standard, it's legal in 47 states. 47. Yeah, I'd say that's pretty standard. wouldn't you? Why are 32 and 128 legal and not 64? That's a great question that deserves a long explanation. How about a short one instead? Just know that the sunshine state has lagged behind in helpful craft policy because big beer and big beer distributors feel threatened by the progress the little guy (craft beer) is making. Any changes to existing policy are fought tooth & nail...and fought pretty well.

Uggh...this was a depressing time

Exhibit A: Last year, Rep. Debbie Mayfield didn't allow the growler bill, a very simplistic one, out of a regulations committee, then proceeded to poorly (or inadequately) defend her committee's decision via Twitter - where she was predictably skewered by craft beer advocates for stunting small business & craft-friendly policy.

This year, things look a little bit better - Mayfield has changed her tune a bit to gain a better understanding of the policies she and her committee ultimately decide upon. Earlier in January 2014, she held a 3-day seminar on all things beer related, where representatives from distributors, breweries and retailers all convened and voiced their respective positions. Right now, the "growler bills" have lived to see another day after passing through two separate committees in the house & senate - where they unfortunately died last year.

We're not to the promised land yet - and that's where we can use your help, my dear readers. Let's voice our support. Inform your congressional representative or senator your thoughts on the bill's importance...much so that they're better equipped to make the "sensible" decision on the bill's fate, should it come up for vote. #fingerscrossed. We wanna make it easy for you to do so - let's focus this week on House Bill 283...okay? Here is your assignment, should you choose to accept it:

  1. Find your Congressional Representative here, and click "send email" when you get to their bio page.
  2. Copy & Paste the following email template, populating with your respective information:

Dear (Congressional Representative's Name),

My name is (your name) and I'm writing you today requesting your support for the passage of House Bill 283, which authorizes containers of malt beverages to be sold or offered for sale by vendor at retail in any size; providing requirements for malt beverage containers; authorizes malt beverage tastings upon certain licensed premises under certain circumstances.

This bill is exceptionally important for a number of reasons - it will support small businesses (craft breweries) in the state of Florida by allowing them to fill industry standard sized containers for patrons to take with them off-site (64 ounces is currently illegal - while 32 ounces and 128 ounces are completely legal). This is a practical bill with practical outcomes - stimulating local economies and allowing Florida to join the 47 states that allow the sale of 64oz growlers. You might hear that this is a threat to the 3-Tier System or general retailers, but it most assuredly is not.

I hope I can count on your support for the passage of House Bill 283 when the time comes for its potential passage. Thank you for your time and consideration! 

Sincerely,

(Your Name)

Easy Peasy, no? I hope I can count on you copy & paste & send this right away to your respective congressional rep. It'll mean a ton to me, GrassLands, our industry colleagues and the state as a whole. Let's get on par with the rest of the country in regard to craft beer policy, eh? If you're not a Florida resident, obviously the above assignment doesn't apply...but stay connected with your state's craft policy anyways!

With that, we'll leave you to it for now. Have an absolutely wonderful weekend, my dear readers, because you most definitely deserve it!

Prost!