Bill to ease burdens on craft distilleries ready for House floor

The legislation has so far received unanimous support.

A bill to reduce restrictions on craft distilleries and level the playing field with other states passed its final House committee on Wednesday.

On Thursday, the Senate passed its version of the measure (SB 46) by a unanimous vote.

Rep. Nick DiCeglie‘s bill (HB 737) would eliminate production caps and open the door for distilleries to sell their drinks in more ways. The House Commerce Committee approved the legislation unanimously with little debate.

It would raise the annual production limit at craft distilleries from 75,000 to 250,000 gallons. Additionally, the proposal would give distilleries in entertainment venues, such as wedding and concert venues, greater flexibility to dress up their drinks to effectively act as a bar.

No distilleries could deliver or ship drinks directly to consumers, like how the three-tier system normally splits manufacturers, distributors and vendors. However, all craft distilleries could sell their drinks to consumers by the drink or package, but only in face-to-face transactions.

Beginning July 2026, the bill would also require recipes to include at least one agricultural product grown in Florida. And by that date, 60% of the drink must be distilled in the Sunshine State.

In the bill’s previous committee stop, the Indian Rocks Beach Republican told the House State Administration and Technology Appropriations Subcommittee he plans to amend his bill to make it identical to the Senate’s, carried by St. Augustine Republican Sen. Travis Hutson.

During debate on the Senate floor, St. Petersburg Democratic Sen. Darryl Rouson told colleagues that helping craft distilleries could bring jobs to low-income communities.

Americans for Prosperity-Florida and the Florida Brewers’ Guild are among the groups supporting the measure.

Deregulating the alcohol industry has been a popular topic in recent years. The latest major effort is to allow restaurants and bars to sell alcoholic drinks to-go, a practice approved temporarily during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Renzo Downey

Renzo Downey covers state government for Florida Politics. After graduating from Northwestern University in 2019, Renzo began his reporting career in the Lone Star State, covering state government for the Austin American-Statesman. Shoot Renzo an email at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @RenzoDowney.


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