Protectionism and Paternalism Brewing in Florida – “I believe I know what’s best.”

109-1Definitely a case where some businessmen have decided to use political muscle to deal with a competition. Crony Capitalism.

unfettered equality

Image Credit:  beerstreetjournal.com/ The Cigar City Brewing Tasting Room (Image Credit: beerstreetjournal.com)

The Florida senate has passed a bill, SB 1714, that would prohibit craft brewers from selling certain products directly to consumers.  Currently, many breweries in Florida operate “tasting rooms” abutting their facilities, through which they interact directly with their customers, offering free samples as well as bottles, cans, and growlers of beer for purchase.  The bill, which has an effective date of July 1, 2014, would require any bottles and cans sold by these tasting rooms to first be sold to distributors — and bought back by the brewery at marked up prices — before being sold to consumers.  Any brewery selling more than 2,000 kegs a year would be subject to these restrictions.

Joey Redner, the owner of Tampa craft brewery Cigar City Brewing, has called this “crony capitalism,” and has threatened to move his operation out of Florida.  In an impassioned…

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