Florida has been one of only 3 states in the country where the 64-ounce growler is banned. The serendipitous repeal date is set for July 1st, just days before the celebration of our nation’s independence – is there anything more American than cold beer made by a local brewery?
Florida craft brewers have been fighting to change this law for years and now we can finally take a sigh of relief as the industry standard 64-ounce growler is legalized.
Why was it illegal in the first place?
The 64-ounce growler has been illegal in Florida since 1965 when a law was passed restricting the size of beer containers sold in the state to either 8, 12, 16, or 32 ounces. The legislation is rumored to be a response to Miller Brewing Co. building a huge brewery in Albany Georgia instead of Tallahassee. At the time their 7-ounce pony bottles were all the rage and this prevented them from distributing those bottles here.
In 2001 a major change to those restrictions came as Senator Tom Lee lead the charge to allow beer to be sold in the state in any container size under a quart or over a gallon. The bill allowed package stores to offer a seemingly endless array of products – from the 22-ounce bomber popular among craft brewers to the unusually sized metric containers from many imported brands.
Around this time craft breweries had just started to pop up across the country and the 64-ounce growler was an increasingly popular option for their beer. Senator Lee claimed in a 2001 Florida Times Union article that the bill’s restriction on the 64-ounce growler was included to prevent over consumption. This bill was also backed by major beer distributors who represented the likes of Anheuser-Bush and Miller, so we’ll let you decide on what the real reason for the 64-ounce restriction was.
Why does the 64 ounce growler matter?
Being able to sell the 64-ounce growler won’t make or break any craft brewery’s business but it does provide added revenues. For macro breweries, it means more competition as consumers now have yet another option for consuming beer at home.
Ultimately, legalizing the 64-ounce growler is a symbolic win for Florida breweries. As macro breweries are losing market share, small local craft breweries are proving that we can band together for meaningful change and won’t be pushed around anymore. In January, the Florida’s craft breweries quickly united to squash threats to our tasting rooms. The craft movement is here to stay.
How do I get a 64-ounce growler filled in Florida?
Starting July 1st anybody can bring their 64-ounce growler to get filled at their favorite local brewery, but with the new law comes new regulations. For a brewery to fill a growler it must have their logo on it. It seems nonsensical, but you won’t be able to bring a Swamp Head growler to Cigar City Brewing to get filled. Fortunately, breweries will always have empty growlers available for purchase in their tasting rooms. Breweries will also need to identify what beer is inside the growler – this will likely be done with a sticker or a tag tied to the handle depending on the brewery. Growlers of any size can only be sold for off-premise consumption so you will need to take it home to enjoy.
Where to celebrate Legal Growlers on July 1st
From collab beers to special events, breweries across the state are celebrating legal 64 ounce growlers.
Proof Brewing Company: Growler Independence Day
Offering a limited supply of commemorative 64 ounce growlers and a special lineup of beers.
Orlando Brewing: Limited Edition Growler Release
Orlando Brewing has been offering their limited edition, double insulated, stainless steel growlers for pre-sale online. You can get yours in the tasting room on July 1st
Saltwater Brewery/Native Brewing Co.: 64 Oz to Freedom
Saltwater Brewery and Native Brewing Co. have joined forces for a special release of a Belgian Style Witbier with Raspberry and Blueberry.
Funky Buddha Brewery: 64th of July
Funky Buddha Brewery is celebrating the 64 ounce growler all week and all weekend with live music, food trucks, and special releases at super low prices.
Intuition Ale Works: Toast The Growler
Starting at 6:40 on July 1st Intuition Ale Works will be celebrating the legalization of the 64 ounce growler. Bring in your old 32 or 128 ounce Intuition Ale Works growlers and exchange it for a free 64 ounce growler.
Pair O’ Dice Brewing: Let Freedom Pour
Buy a 64 ounce growler in their tasting room from 4-7pm and get it filled for half off. They will also have limited releases available.
Green Bench Brewing: Free The Growler
Visit Green Bench Brewing in St. Pete from 2-6pm and get your gallon growler filled for the price of a quart. Anyone who buys a growler will be entered to win two free growler fills a month for a year.