If you needed any further proof that craft beer is becoming an indispensable part of Florida food culture, you have it in Rep. Katie Edwards' growler bill.
The Democrat from Plantation is pushing for a law that would end the silly ban on malt-beverage containers larger than 32 ounces but smaller than 1 gallon. This is the law that prohibited you from buying 40s of Old English "800" during your days at Florida State.
Well, should Edward's HB 175 pass, forget about driving to Georgia for that large bottle -- and forget about drinking 40 ounces of OE.
The representative's motives are in the promotion of craft-beer business. She wants to make it possible for Florida's breweries to sell 64-ounce growlers, which she says are more cost-effective than the current sizes available.
"The concept is really nothing new," Edwards says. "Consumer demand and preference has been driving these issues. ... It should really be a market-driven issue. You don't want to treat the little guy as you would the bigger known names."
Meaning your big-label domestics, who might oppose HB 175 for fear of losing business to good beer. But it seems there's enough support in the House for this growler bill to pass, and Edwards has a good eye for the economic pull of the drink industry.
She was executive chair of the Dade County Farm Bureau when it helped develop the Redlands and created Schnebly Winery -- now also a brewery and future distillery.
"Kentucky's got the Bourbon Trail, for example" she says, "If we help develop bed-and-breakfasts [here] it would help agro-tourism."
Or beer tourism, the nationwide trend of visiting a city or region to drink through its local breweries and pubs. Edwards says the Florida Brewers Guild -- yes, this is a real thing -- is working to develop this would-be beer trail.
"Who knows? Maybe Florida becomes a state that's known for an incredible amount of regional craft beer," she poses.
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