Connect with us
BOOZE BILL

Influence

Drinking, advertising—and ‘extortion’? Beer bill back for 2018

Legislation that critics said would allow theme parks to “extort” advertising dollars from beer companies has been re-filed for the 2018 Legislative Session.

The bills (HB 775, SB 822), filed by Republicans Rep. Mike La Rosa of St. Cloud and Sen. Travis Hutson of Elkton, generally would allow “cooperative” advertising in theme parks.

Hutson, chair of the Senate Regulated Industries Committee, sponsored the language in the previous Session. At the time, he said Florida would be the fifth state to allow beer ads in theme parks if the measures passed. He didn’t respond to a request for comment.

Both bills now include this language: “Within 10 days after the execution of such agreement, the vendor files with the (state) a description of the agreement which includes the location, dates, and the name of the manufacturer or importer that entered into the agreement.”

Last year’s measures grew contentious, however, when beer industry representatives started privately complaining of fears they’d be “extorted by the theme parks.”

Lobbyists for MillerCoors; the Beer Industry of Florida, the association of Florida’s MillerCoors distributors; and the Florida Beer Wholesalers Association, which represents Anheuser-Busch distributors; all opposed it in various committee hearings.

“We are opposed to continued alcohol deregulation and we believe the tide of public opinion is shifting toward a more conservative approach,” said Eric Criss, president of the Beer Industry of Florida, in an email last week.

The legislation, by allowing ads, could include a beer company sponsoring a concert or festival within a park.

“We kind of see a situation where (the parks) say, ‘We do such-and-such theme night, but now we’d like you to pay’ ” to sponsor it, said one person, who asked not to be named, earlier this year. “… We all feel like we’ll be put over a barrel.”

Another person who works in the state’s craft beer industry raised a concern that “the biggest players will come in and write the biggest checks.”

“So when you sit down in a park to order a beer, you’ll look up, see the signage, point to it and tell your waiter, ‘I guess I’ll just have one of those.’ ”

Written By

Jim Rosica is the Tallahassee-based Senior Editor for Florida Politics. He previously was the Tampa Tribune’s statehouse reporter. Before that, he covered three legislative sessions in Florida for The Associated Press. Jim graduated from law school in 2009 after spending nearly a decade covering courts for the Tallahassee Democrat, including reporting on the 2000 presidential recount. He can be reached at jim@floridapolitics.com.

Nikki Fried may soon target stores selling CBD oil

Headlines

Facepalm Facepalm

Alimony reform group hits new low with derogatory Facebook post

Emails & Opinions

Lenny Curry defends using uniformed cops in political ads

Jax

On butt lifts and “Dr. Miami”

Emails & Opinions

Sign up for Sunburn

Receive our team's agenda-setting morning read of what's hot in Florida politics. Delivered straight to your inbox Monday through Friday.

Florida Politics is a statewide, new media platform covering campaigns, elections, government, policy, and lobbying in Florida. This platform and all of its content are owned by Extensive Enterprises Media.

Publisher: Peter Schorsch

Contributors & reporters: Phil Ammann, Jim Rosica, A.G. Gancarski, Joe Henderson, Janelle Irwin, Dan McAuliffe, Michael Moline, Jacob Ogles, Scott Powers, Bob Sparks, Andrew Wilson.
Email: Peter@FloridaPolitics.com
Phone: (727) 642-3162
Address: 204 37th Avenue North #182
St. Petersburg, Florida 33704

Connect
Sign up for Sunburn

Receive our team's agenda-setting morning read of what's hot in Florida politics. Delivered straight to your inbox Monday through Friday.