Tag Archives: craft breweries

Jax Ale Trail a success six-months in

jax-ale-trailSix months after its debut, the Jax Ale Trail is being lauded as an unqualified success. Launched in early December 2014, the Jax Ale Trail is a self-guided tour of Jacksonville’s eight craft breweries. Trail followers can pick up a “Passport” at one of the breweries on the Trail or the Visit Jacksonville office on Laura Street in downtown Jacksonville. By presenting the passport and ordering a beer at each brewery on the Trail, visitors earn a stamp. Fill the passport up with a stamp from all eight breweries on the Trail and trailblazers earn a Jax Ale Trail t-shirt when they turn the completed passport in at Vist Jacksonville office downtown.

By the numbers, over 14,000 passports have been distributed since the inception of the program, more than 400 completed passports have been turned in by visitors from 25 different states and five different countries.

Here are some of the highlights from the past six months:

  • 416 completed Jax Ale Trail Craft Beer Passports mailed to Visit Jacksonville
  • 323 (78%) were from Florida, 93 (22%) from out of state
  • 281 (68%) from Duval County and surrounding areas, 135 (32%) from visitors from other areas including:
    • 25 States: Ala., Calif., Fla., Ga., Hawaii., Ia., Ill., Ind., La., Mass., Md., Maine, Mich., Minn., N.C., N.D., N.J., Nev., N.Y., Ohio, Pa., S.C., Texas, Utah, Va.
    • 5 Countries: USA, Canada, France, Brazil, Scotland

Jacksonville’s eight local craft breweries include Intuition Ale Woprks, Bold City Brewery, Aardwolf Brewing Company, Green Room Brewing, Engine 15 Brewing Company, Pinglehead Brewing Company, Veterans United Craft Brewery and Zeta Brewing Company.

For more information on the Jax Ale Trail go to

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Posted by on June 8, 2015 in Beer News


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Three-year battle over 64-ounce growlers all but over

all-growlers-clipped2It has been a long convoluted journey, but on Friday the Florida House voted unanimously to legalize 64-ounce growlers for tap room beer sales. The size, a standard in 48 of the United States, has long been a point of contention between craft brewers and some of the state’s distributors and macro-brewers.

“This day has been a long time coming,” House Majority Leader Dana Young, R-Tampa, said on the floor Friday. “It was a lot harder than it should have been, and a lot of you have lived through this craziness with me.”

The bill, now awaiting Gov. Rick Scott’s signature or veto, also allows breweries to open up to eight tap rooms for customers to purchase beer by the pint as well as fill growlers. Up to today, breweries have been using an exemption in state law meant to encourage tourism – and originally put in place at the request of Anheuser-Busch so that the company’s beer could be served at Busch Gardens in Tampa and Sea World in Orlando, which were owned by the beer giant at the time.

growlerFriday’s passage of the bill (SB 186) ends three years of arguments between craft breweries, mega-breweries and distributors. The bill was sponsored by Sen. Jack Latvala, R-Clearwater, and in the House by Rep. Chris Sprowls, R-Palm Harbor, and Young.

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Posted by on April 24, 2015 in Beer News


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Florida House Bill 1329 seeks to put the squeeze on craft brewers

Growler2If you have heard it once, you have heard it a thousand times; craft beer is booming and momentum continues to grow. You have likely also heard that ‘Big Beer’ is not at all happy about this. Sure, there are craft brewers that have sold portions of their operations to big beer, but as a whole, craft beer and big-yellow-fizzy-beer do not get along well.

So, is it any surprise that, in a state that has finally gotten its feet under itself in the craft beer world, Big Beer has found a legislator to champion their cause and introduce a bill that will effectively choke the life out of smaller breweries? Of course it is not.

That is exactly what is happening in Florida right now following the introduction of House Bill 1329, dubbed the “Big Beer Bill.”

Ray Wesley Rodrigues (Republican, Fort Myers), sponsored and filed the HB 1329 on Monday, March 3, 2014. The bill was filed in the aftermath of what an analysis by Komlossy Law P.A. calls, “self serving comments from Eric Criss.” For those not in the know, Criss is the current president of Beer Industry of Florida, Inc., a trade association that includes Florida’s largest beer distributors as members.

The comments referred to in the analysis were published Friday, January 21, 2014 by The Gainesville Sun. In the article, written by Criss, comments like, “…better known brands like Budweiser are hemorrhaging market share…” seem to point a finger at craft beer as the David that is taking down the Goliath. It goes on to provide a chiding history lesson that points to the evils of the alcohol industry and seems to warn that without the new legislation we are headed there again. In the article, Criss says, “There was a time when brewers often sold direct to the public through retailers they owned or controlled called “tied houses.” This led to aggressive sales tactics, deep discounts, and high-volume drinking with the end result being large-scale addiction, domestic violence, and worse.” Later in the article he goes on to praise the three-tier system in bringing about a reduction alcohol-related driving fatalities, DUI arrests and DUI convictions. Finally, Criss cranks up the fear by saying, “…irrational exuberance over the craft beer revolution threatens to unravel the layers of protection it provides to our children and communities.”

The bill itself effectively puts the screws to smaller breweries, making it nearly impossible for a new brewery to open and for established breweries to grow. The bill breaks down to this:

  • Limits the situations in which a craft brewer may sell beer to end consumers
  • Requires brewers to include in their business plans that they intend to supply beer to distributors
  • Prohibits brewery tap rooms from selling beers brewed wholly or partially by another brewery except when certain circumstances exist
  • Defines a growler as a container of either 32- or 64-ounces

Under the bill, craft breweries will be able to sell their own beer for consumption in their own tap room as well as, in some cases, allow for guest beers to be sold for on-premises consumption. But, breweries will only be able to sell growlers of their own beers. In addition, if the brewery stops making beer for the purpose of distribution for 60 days without a good reason, they lose their ability to have guest taps. As for collaboration beers, the can be made but not served in the brewery’s tap room. They must go directly to the distributor.

So, let’s see if we have this straight; with HB 1329 we will get our half-gallon growlers, but we lose our gallon growlers. In addition, if we want to drink a pint or two at our local tap room, we can as long as the brewery intends to produce enough beer to package and send to a distributor. We cannot drink collaboration beers in tap rooms; instead we have to buy it from a retailer. Oh, and if a brewery has to shut down for a period of time – for any reason other than the few outlined in the bill – said brewery will lose its ability to have guest taps and possibly its ability to sell its own beer in its tap room.

Convoluted enough for you? How about we take a step back and get this right? How about we embrace the entrepreneurial spirit of these small businesses and put some laws in place to give them some security and peace of mind rather than trying to trip them up at every turn?

Here are some recommendations:

  • Amend the growler law to allow 32-, 64- or 128-ounce
  • Allow for growler sales of on-premises brewed beers as well as guest taps
  • Allow small, community-based, collaborative brew pubs to license their premises and sell beer without the need for packaging and selling to a distributor
  • Allow breweries to collaborate and advance the art and science of brewing with each other and share the fruits of their labors in their respective tap rooms

Finally, legislators need to stop twisting the truth about alcohol consumption. Craft beer does not adversely affect alcohol abuse any more than recent innovations like the vented beer cans introduced by both AB-InBev and Miller/Coors. These cans serve only one purpose; to get more beer into the mouths of consumers faster. That seems to be a greater evil than craft beer that is often enjoyed more slowly so as to savor the complex flavors of the beer.

You can help fight this frivolous and unnecessary legislation by writing Representative Rodriques and your local Florida representative.

Write Representative Rodriques at:

Capitol Office:

Representative Ray Rodriques
1302 The Capitol
402 South Monroe Street
Tallahassee, FL 32399-1300

District Office:

Representative Ray Rodriques
Suite 218
17595 South Tamiami Trail
Fort Myers, FL 33908-4570

You may find your local representative at the Florida House website:

Here is the bill:





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Posted by on March 6, 2014 in Beer News


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Miami Brick-Toberfest set to heat things up

bricktoberThe fall festival season is here and it seems like every weekend there is another big event. On September 28, the focus will be on the Brickell Village area of Miami for the first annual Brick-Toberfest sponsored by Fado Irish Pub and Zevents.

The aim of the event is to launch the biggest Oktoberfest beer festival the neighborhood has ever seen and will feature popular local, regional and European craft breweries. Current breweries set to serve their delicious brews include Cigar City, Lagunitas, Brooklyn, Samuel Adams, Shock Top, Hoegaarden, to name just a few. For those who prefer wine, Delicato Family Vineyards will also be serving their award-winning wines.

The celebration kicks off at 1:00 p.m. in the heart of the Mary Brickell Village on 10th St. in Brickell just below Fado Irish Pub. The festival entrance will be located at 10th St and 1st Ave near the Publix Supermarket.

Javi Zayes, the president of Zevents said recently, “We are excited to bring such a vibrant event to Brickell and to have partnered up with Fado Irish Pub Miami as we set out to create an event beer enthusiasts will enjoy.”

Guests will be able to indulge in more than 75 beer samplings, food, live music, DJs and more. Guests are encouraged to attend the after-party at Fado Irish Pub with late-nite drink specials and live music until 4:00 a.m.

The Festival will kick off at 1:00 p.m. for guests who purchase the Ultra VIP Unlimited Sampling & Festival ticket. This ticket caters to beer connoisseurs who want to get the first taste. Guests are granted expedited entry, VIP tent sampling areas, premium sampling of more than 10 super premium beer selections, unlimited sampling of over 75 beers, food pairing and light bites from local restaurants, VIP tent access all day and night, a private restroom area and can stay for the 6:00 p.m. music festival.

At 2:00 p.m, Bricktoberfest kicks off the Unlimited Sampling Pass that allows guest to sample more than 75 craft and specialty beers, food pairings, expedited entry to the event, all-day access to a private VIP tent and private restrooms.

Finally, in true Miami fashion at 5:00 p.m. Bricktoberfest welcomes guests who are looking to get the party started with the Festival Party Pass that grants guest admission at 5:00 p.m. to the craft beer and music festival and access to the after party atFadó Irish Pub.

Tickets are from $25 to $95, depending on the level and for those who purchase in advance a 50% early bird discount is in effect. For ticket information, visit the festival website at

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Posted by on September 12, 2013 in Beer, Beer Festival


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