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Florida Brewers Guild News | URGENT LEGISLATIVE ALERT
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Legislative Alert

See below for an update pertaining to the lawsuits filed again the Division of Alcohol Beverages and Tobacco.

What has happened: The Florida Independent Spirits Association, Inc. (dominated by ABC Fine Wine, Scott Dick http://www.floridaindependentspiritsassociation.com/) and the Florida Retail Federation (Retail Beverage Council,http://www.frf.org/) have filed an administrative lawsuit against the Division of Alcoholic Beverages and Tobacco, alleging that the Division is doing two things against the law regarding breweries:
  1. Incorrectly applying the "tourist exception" to grant a brewery a CMB license and a vendor license, and;
  2. Incorrectly granting CMB brewery licenses to entities which already have a vendor license.
Challengers who have joined in the suit: As of yesterday (January 12th), both the Florida Beer Wholesalers Association (Mitch Rubin) and the Beer Industry of Florida (Eric Criss) have filed petitions to intervene, and support the challenge to our licenses!
 
Why this is important: If these groups are successful in their challenge against the Division of Alcoholic Beverages, it is possible that breweries could lose their ability to obtain a vendor license - this means no more tasting rooms. But it is not restricted to NEW breweries - it is conceivable that all vendor licenses issued to breweries could be revoked. This means you could not sell pints, fill growlers, or sell beer to go!
 
What does the Florida Brewers Guild need: This is completely different from lobbying the legislature, this is real litigation in court. It means we need financial resources to join the lawsuit to help fight alongside the Division of Alcoholic Beverages and protect brewery rights to a tasting room.
 
Talking Points: We are shocked that retailers and distributors would try to invalidate breweries tasting rooms. Perhaps they have entered into this suit without comprehending the serious implications it could have on the entire Florida brewing industry?
 
What Should the Members of the Guild Do:  Most importantly Guild members should promote their tasting rooms as a tourist destination.  Educate your supporters and customers about the battle we are facing, reach out to your local politicians and ask for their support defending your right to pursue your small business in Florida. Support the Guild and lastly - you may be asked to support the Guild financially so a battle can be fought and brewers rights & freedom can be defended.


Use this link to find the contact information for your local politicians - http://flsenate.gov/Senators/Find
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