Thursday, January 16, 2014

Beer brewers and distributors at odds over growler legislation

Craft beer is booming, but will the political machinations of industry heavyweights flatten the market?

Posted By on Thu, Jan 16, 2014 at 2:40 PM

Page 3 of 3

EASY AS ABC: Shift manager Stacey Todd seals and labels a growler at ABC Fine Wine & Spirits in Tampa.
  • Chip Weiner
  • EASY AS ABC: Shift manager Stacey Todd seals and labels a growler at ABC Fine Wine & Spirits in Tampa.

In the past year, ABC Fine Wine & Spirits has begun selling 32-ounce growlers in four locations, including at its Tampa store on West Kennedy Blvd. Spokesperson Lorena Streeter says that ABC supports 64-ounce growlers, and will sell them if they’re legalized.

“It’s a terrific way to reach out to the craft beer community and engage them because a lot of times the beer that is sold via the growler is not sold in other packages,” she says.

Whatever happens in Florida, the national craft beer trend shows no signs of abating. According to a new analysis by the Brewers Association — the not-for-profit trade association that represents the majority of U.S. breweries — small and independent American craft brewers contributed $33.9 billion to the U.S. economy in 2012. The report also states that craft beer volume grew 15 percent in 2012 and sales grew 17 percent. Craft brewers accounted for 6.5 percent of the total U.S. beer market in 2012, up from 5.7 percent in 2011.

As our region’s craft beer industry continues to grow in national stature (most recently via a story about St. Petersburg in Sunday’s New York Times travel section), that can only mean plenty more beer aficionados will be lining up to fill their growlers.

NOTE: An earlier version of this story incorrectly listed Joe Bardi as the author. The byline has been corrected.

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