Lawsuit Filed In Federal Court Against Florida's Beer Growler Ban

Oct 28, 2014
Originally published on October 28, 2014 3:50 pm

 A craft brewery on the Treasure Coast is fighting Florida's growler ban in federal court. The owners, along with a national legal group, filed a civil rights lawsuit Tuesday with the U.S. District Court in Fort Pierce.

The Pacific Legal Foundation (PLF) in DC is taking up a pro-bono case on behalf of a family running the Crafted Keg—a craft brewery in Stuart.

Mark Miller, an attorney with PLF, said he wants a court to rule a state law prohibiting craft breweries, restaurants and taverns from selling or filling beer growlers unconstitutional.

Under current state law, breweries can sell beer in quart and gallon-size containers, but they can’t sell beer in half gallon growlers, which are an industry standard used nationwide. Miller said the ban is hurting businesses across the state.

“It seems irrational because it is irrational,” he said. “So, tourists will come into these restaurants and these breweries and say, ‘you are just trying to gouge me.’ So, business is lost and money is lost because this industry standard growler cannot be filled.”

Miller said this ban is a well-known problem in the state and lawmakers have failed to fix it the past two years. He said anytime there is an effort to correct this ban, large beer companies use their lobbying power to stop it.

The state’s growler ban is uniformly unpopular, too. In fact, both Governor Rick Scott and his Democratic opponent Charlie Crist oppose the ban.

Libertarian Gubernatorial candidate Adrian Wyllie even held a month-long statewide craft brewery tour earlier this year aimed at bringing awareness to a law he says is anti-business.

Ken Lawson, the secretary of the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation, was named as the defendant in the lawsuit.

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