TALLAHASSEE, Fla.-- Beer tastings could be popping up at stores around Florida, but the types of stores are limited and some say the limitations go too far.
Major beer companies like Budweiser are backing legislation that opens up beer tastings at stores around the state
The legislation allows stores of 10,000 square feet or more to offer malt beverage samples. Rep. Kathleen Passidomo was happy it breezed through a House committee Thursday.
“It has to be indoors and it has to be specifically geared toward people over the age of 21," Passidomo said. "All of that language is in the revised bill.”
The bill once allowed tastings at all stores. The 10,000 square foot mark was put in place partly to prevent easier access to alcohol by minors.
“They have really tight control so in terms of access to kids if we had seen it, we would have already seen it in wine and spirits which has been doing it for a long time,” said Eric Criss from the Beer Industry of Florida.
The bill doesn’t let just any place have beer tastings but brewers say that can hurt small businesses.
Byron Burroughs is in the process of constructing a craft brewery. The legislation won’t effect him, but he does worry that it puts the squeeze on independent brewers just starting out.
“In effect it will cut out any small wine and beer retailer that’s under 10,000 square feet or that just has a beer and wine license,” Burroughs said.
The bill limits servings to 3.5 ounce cups … a typical can of beer is 12 ounces.
Beer brewers were concerned that this benefits big chains like ABC or Publix more than independent brewers. They still said that they support the measure because it gets their product out to more people.