Florida growls at craft breweries’ growlers

Florida growlers

Photo credit: WUFT.org

In Florida, you can buy beer that comes in cans. You can buy beer that comes in bottles.

You can even buy beer that comes in kegs, in cases, in six-packs and in fancy bottles with cork-stoppers. You can beer that is poured from a tap at a bar.

But if you want to buy beer 64-ounce in a reusable container known by beer connoisseurs as a “growler,” you would be breaking the state law.

However, if you have a 32-ounce beer jug or a larger growler — perhaps you need a gallon of beer — you’re in the clear.

Yes, it makes no sense. And that’s why Florida’s odd and illogical ban on 64-ounce containers of beer is getting challenged in court by the Pacific Legal Foundation, a libertarian law firm that just loves taking on the nanny state.

What’s the health or safety rationale for telling consumers that a half-gallon jug is off-limits, but two quarter-gallon jugs are fine?  Clearly, the ban isn’t to help the public,” said Mark Miller, an attorney for PLF.

Growlers are legal in 47 other states (Idaho and Mississippi are the others that ban them) and they have become the industry standard for many small craft breweries. Making them illegal in Florida, Miller said, is meant to protect major brewers who are afraid of losing market share to the craft guys.

Many times, nanny state laws are nuisances. But the growler-ban in Florida is actually doing damage to craft brewers like The Crafted Keg, a bar in Stuart, Fla., where you can get 58 varieties of beer.

“We want to give everyone great service, but the Florida growler restrictions are a barrier to that,” co-owner Alex Piasecki said in a statement. “People from out of state will come in and ask to have their half-gallon growlers filled, but we say that we can’t, and that they’d have to buy a new growler in a different size.”

Read more at Watchdog.org

By Eric Boehm | Watchdog.org

Part 25 of 25 in the series Nanny State of the Week

Watchdog

Watchdog.org is a collection of independent journalists covering state-specific and local government activity.

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