Beer Industry Of Florida Statement On Florida Retail Federation

Statement from Eric Criss, President of Beer Industry of Florida

“The Beer Industry of Florida (BIF) supports limited retail privileges for craft brewers, as we clearly stated during the 2014 legislative session.  We’ve long maintained that brewers and distributors make great business partners, and that craft brewers should benefit from a well-defined, limited exception in the statute to operate as retailers.  We’ve supported the 64-ounce container, also known as the ‘growler,’ for three years in a row, with no strings attached.

“Even though we stand for limited retail privileges for craft brewers, we adamantly oppose the deregulation of alcohol.  The administrative challenge filed by the Florida Retail Federation and the Florida Independent Spirits Association highlights the fact that significant clarification of the rules is needed in the licensing process.  It is our belief that such clarification will not impact brewers who currently hold retail licenses; and furthermore, that it will protect the public by preserving Florida’s state-based alcohol regulatory system. Therefore, BIF has petitioned to intervene on behalf of our members in this administrative action.

“We have three priorities in this process: to prevent the deregulation of alcohol in Florida, to maintain a level playing field for retailers, distributors, and brewers, and to ensure that brewers continue to enjoy retail privileges that are among the safest and most generous in the nation.”


In October of 2014, the Beer Industry of Florida released a video endorsing 64-ounce growlers and voicing concerns about the possible public health consequences of alcohol deregulation.  The video cited studies conducted by the University of North Carolina, Harvard University and the University of Florida. (Video)

In April of 2014, during the state legislative session, the BIF announced its opposition to efforts that would have limited small brewer retail privileges in a manner BIF viewed as overly restrictive.  The BIF public statement noted:  “The Beer Industry of Florida does not support current proposals that would virtually eliminate retail privileges for brewers. Brewers and distributors are good partners and some craft brewers need limited retail privileges to build their businesses. Therefore, it’s in distributors’ interest that small brewers should have a well-defined, limited exception in the statute that allows them to operate as retailers, both on-premise and off-premise…However, BIF will oppose vertical integration of the industry that allows an industry member to operate in all three tiers in an unrestricted manner.” (Statement)

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