Craft distillery bill heads to Rick Scott


A bill to allow craft distillers to sell more product directly to customers was passed by lawmakers Friday.

The measure (HB 141) sailed through a 37-0 vote on the Senate floor, sending it to Gov. Rick Scott.

Sen. Greg Steube on Thursday had substituted the House version for his bill.

The measure would let distillers sell up to six bottles of spirits per customer in a given year.

“We are pleased the Legislature is continuing to recognize our growing industry,” said Philip McDaniel, CEO and co-founder of St. Augustine Distillery Co., and founding president of the Florida Craft Distillers Guild. “The opportunity to increase sales from our gift shops … will allow craft distillers to continue to grow and create jobs.”

Steube originally included several other provisions, such as raising the amount of spirits distillers can make and still be considered “craft,” from 75,000 gallons per year to 250,000 gallons.

Distributors and liquor stores have opposed measures to loosen restrictions, saying it would cut into their business.

Until 2013, distillers couldn’t sell any of their product to customers. That year, lawmakers approved a change to state law allowing two bottles to be sold to an individual customer yearly.

The law was changed again to two bottles annually per customer of each brand of liquor that a distiller makes. If a craft distiller produces only one type of liquor, however, four could be sold.

Jim Rosica

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 [email protected].


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