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Growler wars end in Florida, 64-ounce growlers legal beginning July 1

beertogoIn case you were wondering what that odd cheering noise was a few weeks ago, it was the collective voices of Florida craft beer lovers and producers shouting in joy that Governor Rick Scott signed the bill that made half-gallon growlers legal in the state. That’s right, until just recently, craft beer could not legally purchase craft beer growlers in sizes other than one-quart or one-gallon sizes. A fact that pegged the state as one of only two that prohibited the half-gallon growler (Utah is the other one). But, after several years of legal wrangling, mega-beer producer back-stabbing and good ol’ boy favoritism, craft beer lobbying prevailed and the containers will become legal July 1, 2015.

To commemorate the ruling and the states newly-found sensibility, breweries are staging special events and offers. One of the most interesting is the offer Ben Davis — a crusader in the growler wars and owner of Intuition Ale Works in Jacksonville, Fla. — has proposed a sort of trade-in. For each one-gallon growler turned in at the brewery’s tap room July 1–4, a shiny new half-gallon growler will be provided along with a complimentary fill of one of Intuition’s core brands. Davis is so adamant about ridding the world of Intuition gallon growlers, that he has come up with a rather interesting way to dispose of them. Check out the video below for the details.

Free the Growler! from Ben Davis on Vimeo.

Just around the corner from Intuition at Bold City Brewing Company, a special Imperial cask ale will be tapped on Thursday, July 2. And on Friday, July 3 the tap room will open at noon with tappings of  Barrel-Aged Super Secret Stout and Barrel-Aged Chinook IPA that will be available for 64-ounce growler fills. But, the tap room will be closed on Independence Day, so get your fills before then.

Out at Jacksonville Beach, patrons of Gren Room Brewing Company can celebrate the new 64-ounce growler freedom with a new beer and half-price half-gallon growler fills. The new brew is called Citrus Paradisi Pale Ale and is an American pale ale dry hopped with Amarillo hops and aged on fresh Florida grapefruit. To grab a half-gallon of this new beer just buy a new Green Room 64-ounce growler for $6 and get a fill for just $5.

Statewide, ,any tap rooms will stop at 6:40 p.m. to toast the passage of the 64-ounce growler law. Be sure to stop in to your favorite whether it be Funky Buddha in South Florida, Cigar City in Tampa, Grayton Beer Company in Santa Rosa Beach or any of the many other great breweries around the state to toast the new growler freedom.

 
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Posted by on June 30, 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’s growler battles make it to CBS This Morning

9INV_BEER_BATTLEThere is a fight going on in the hallowed halls of the Florida legislature. And, like many fights, this one is fueled by beer. But, not in the manner of two drunken bar patrons slugging it out over a spilled beer or the attentions of a lovely lady, this brawl is over growlers — jugs filled from beer taps for patrons to take off-premises for consumption.

Currently, Florida law allows breweries to fill growlers with their own beer in only one-quart or one-gallon sizes. The problem is that the national standard for growler size is one half-gallon. Indeed, Florida is the only state in the union that completely bans half-gallon growlers.

The fight has raged for years and breweries throughout the state are not shy about talking about their disdain for the current state of the law. In Jacksonville, Ben Davis of Intuition Ale Works is particularly vocal on the subject and has even gone so far as to hire a lobbiest to bring the brawl to the capitol’s steps.

Today, the fight went national on the CBS This Morning television program. Read the full story of a bar owner,Guy Piasecki  bucking the system by lawyering up to get the law changed here: http://www.cbsnews.com/news/florida-bartender-fighting-growler-craft-beer-jug-ban/.

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Posted by on November 24, 2014 in Beer News

 

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Growler culture expands locally; Simple rules to enjoy draft beer at home

Beer_growlerGrowlers are a touchy subject here in Florida. We are banned from filling half-gallon growlers but are allowed to purchase two one-quart or even gallon growlers. And, until recently, it was impossible – or at least very difficult – to get a growler filled at a liquor or package store.

But, those are all regulatory issues that are either being attacked by the brewers and beer-lovers of the state or have already been rectified. The charge on growler size is being spear-headed by Jacksonville’s Ben Davis of Intuition Ale Works. And the ABC store at the corner of San Jose and Sunbeam is now offering 12 draft beers for fills of quart-sized growlers.

Growler culture is an odd thing. People love the convenience of being able to take home a freshly poured bottle of beer, but do not seem to know how long it will keep after they get it home. Another disturbing behavior regarding growlers is the state in which they are returned to tap rooms and fill stations. They should be clean, but often are a smelly, residue-laden mess.

For the uninitiated, beer is an extremely finicky liquid. Exposure to air and light can cause great damage to it ranging from slightly off flavors to absolute skunkiness. Likewise for heat, while the damage may be less severe when a cold beer is allowed to warm to room temperature than allowing a beer to sit in a car baking under the Florida sun for several hours, there is going to be some degradation. Also, beer is easily infected by bacteria that, you guessed it, can lead to a good beer going bad.

So, how should you treat your growler full of delicious, freshly-tapped beer? Well, with great care, of course! And by that we mean follow these simple rules:

  • After filling, go home and put your growler in the refrigerator or carry a cooler with ice in it to keep it cold.
  • Consume the beer within two weeks.
  • Once you open the growler, your beer will quickly go flat, so finish it within two or three days.
  • Once empty, immediately rinse well with hot water and air dry.
  • Never use soap or put in the dishwasher – this will affect the beer’s head.
  • Insist the filler use a new cap every time you get your growler filled.

Please note the third item on the above list. Bringing a dirty growler back to a fill station could result in them filling your unclean (and probably infected) growler with beer without rinsing it. This can only lead to trouble when good beer comes in contact with the remains of your last fill. It is a simple matter to rinse the growler after it is empty, just do it! You will thank me later.

For an interesting, and somewhat humorous discussion about the subject of dirty growlers, read the story linked below from the Bangor Daily News in Maine.

Growler care is simple and more people should do it.

If you love craft beer, want to try more of it or share it with friends, the growler can be a real convenience. Just swing by any of the local breweries or ABC on San Jose and choose a beer you would like to try. But, be sure to follow the simple rules above and you are sure to enjoy the taste of fresh draft beer at home.

 
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Posted by on December 30, 2013 in Beer Education, Beer News

 

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Wisconsin grappling with growlers in grocery stores

December 17, 2013

By Bryan Born, Wisconsin Corespondent

Beer_growlerThere is exciting news for craft beer lovers coming out of Wisconsin. Just before the weekend, Madison, Wis. newspaper The Capital Times published an article that more grocery stores may begin providing growler fills of draft beer in their liquor departments. Although nothing is official yet, I for one could not be happier about this possibility.

Currently, a Class A liquor license in Wisconsin permits “retail sale of fermented malt beverages (beer) for consumption off the premises. Examples: grocery or convenience stores.” Allowing customers to fill growlers seems like a big opportunity for microbreweries.

Just imagine the possibilities; stores could offer a much wider array of beer. Because most start up microbreweries do not bottle their beer for sale at stores, the only way to obtain their beer is to visit their brewery, or a bar or brewery that may be guest hosting a tap for them. Permitting growler fills at grocery stores would increase the opportunity for craft beer makers to get their product out to the public. And, since most people do not live next door to their favorite brewery, this could make it easier for beer drinkers to obtain their favorite beer.

Scott Stenger, spokesman and lobbyist for The Tavern League of Wisconsin said it is not likely his organization would support the idea. Though no proposal has been made yet, whether one would through legislature is in doubt.

On the upside of the issue, Whole Foods in Milwaukee allows customers to drink pints of beer from their taps as they shop.

“The beer on tap is extremely popular. People grab a beer and do some grocery shopping. It’s a good time,” Mike Buetow, the store’s manager said in The Cap Times article, “The growlers are popular, but the beer on tap is the bigger draw.”

So, while this measure does not seem popular with the Tavern League. I remain optimistic until I hear otherwise. I just hope this opportunity for craft brewers and drinkers alike is not lost in bureaucracy.

Bryan Born is a beer enthusiast, plain and simple. His motto for beer is, “Gotta try ’em all.” Being from Wisconsin he has grown up in a culture that loves its beer and he celebrates the diversity of the fine beverage. He is on a personal quest to visit as many different breweries across the country as possible, to learn and meet as many other enthusiasts as he can.

You can follow Bryan on Twitter @borno23

 
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Posted by on December 17, 2013 in Beer News

 

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