Craft beer adventures and experiences… one pint at a time

Posts tagged ‘Anheuser Busch’

The FL Craft Brew Smackdown… You GOTTA make the call

I’m not a WWE fan, but for some people watching the Smackdown wrestling shows is the height of entertainment. I’ll give fans that right, except when it involves real life, Florida lawmakers, and the craft brewing industry.  And that’s exactly what came to mind as I was thinking about how our Florida Senate is treating our Craft Brewers. It’s a Smackdown of epic proportions along the lines of David and Goliath – complete with senate comments befitting such an event.

If you’re like me and think Smackdowns and grandstanding belong elsewhere, you GOTTA make calls to your senators on April 29. (Scroll to the end of this post for details.)

If you frequent social media (Facebook or Twitter) you may already know about the nearly dozen Craft Beer (labeled “malt beverages”) bills working their way through the Florida legislature.  Rather than taking the lead to inspire, encourage, and motivate this burgeoning industry in Florida, we’re the laughing stock of the nation as “Big Beer” lobbyists stage a season long, series of Smackdowns against Florida’s craft brewers.

Today’s episode “Mother Stargel” vs “Anarchy Brew Kids”

Today Senate Bill (SB) 1714 was read, amended, debated, and ultimately advanced to the third reading in the two hour match-up.  In a way-too-typical fashion, senators debated and tossed out brewing terms: keg, barrel, gallon, container, growler, as if doing so imparted knowledge.  Finally the bill sponsor Senator Kelli Stargel, admitted that she didn’t have numbers to support her bill’s language (2000 kegs as a brewery size limit,) but knew how many million barrels of beer Anheuser Busch brews.

The Smackdown ramped up when Senator Stargel argued for a mountain of regulations to reign in illegal behavior of craft brewers, currently operating under the decades old tourism exemption law used by Anheuser Busch theme parks. Not doing so, she continued, could create Florida lawsuits in our highly litigious world.

She charged multiple times at craft brewers by asserting they want to do whatever they want without any regulations whatsoever.  Wow – score one for Mother Stargel against the Anarchy Brew Kids.

(Sidenote:  It’s curious to note that since AB was bought by InBev and no longer runs Sea World or Busch Gardens, such laws no longer serve their best interests!)

Not satisfied to call out their rogue behavior, Senator Stargel went on to call craft brewers the “little guys,”  who are brewing “itty bitty bits of beer,” and saying that the 2000 keg ceiling would help them “while they’re little and growing.”  Bam! (I almost waited for the refrain “Kids, go to your rooms right now without dinner!”)

The final blow came when Senator Stargel professed that after listening to everything the craft brewers had to say, she crafted a bill amendment that would somehow rescue the fledgling industry (“not even one Florida brewer would go out of business”) Furthermore, she stated, the amended bill would NOT CAUSE ANY HARM TO ANYONE IN THE INDUSTRY; it would actually benefit them.

Program over, smack – down!  Next up, the vote for SB1714 followed by many other episodes.

Your turn – You’ve Gotta Call…”National Call-in to Senators Don Gaetz, Kelli Stargel, and Your Senator” April 29, 2014

A few of us created a Facebook page called Florida United for Craft Brewers -FUCB – and a first National Call-in event.  Here are the details:gaetz
The Malt Beverage Senate Bill (SB 1714) was amended, but it will still cause harm to craft brewing in Florida. Senator Stargel stated that the bill is needed because Florida craft brewers want to operate freely without any regulations, and that the bill will not cause harm to anyone in the craft brewing industry. We DISAGREE so we’re targeting a phone-in campaign for TOMORROW April 29.
We’re targeting Senate PresidentDonGaetz,SenatorStargel, and your local senator with this call-in to urge them to vote NO toSB1714.Call-IN and make sure SenatorGaetz, SenatorStargel, and your senator support small business by defeating SB 1714.
1. Senate President Don Gaetz
Phone#: (850) 487-5001
Script:
“Hello, my name is _________ and I’m calling Senate President Gaetz to ask him to vote no on SB1714. It WILL cause harm to the craft brewing industry in Florida AND create unnecessary regulation. In the past, he said he was pro small business and pro free market, so I urge him to follow through on those promises by voting NO to SB1714.”
—————————————————————–
2. Senator Kelli Stargel (Sponsor of SB 1714)
Phone#: (863) 284-4430
Script:
“Hello, my name is _________ and I’m calling Senator Kelli Stargel to ask her to vote no on SB1714. It WILL cause harm to the craft brewing industry in Florida AND create unnecessary regulation. Craft brewers are responsible parents, husbands, wives, and fellow voters who respect regulation of the industry, but this bill will hurt us all. I urge her to reconsider the importance of growth and respect in this industry by voting NO to SB1714.”
—————————————————————–
3. Your own senator (here is the link to the senate listing):
http://www.flsenate.gov/Senators/#SenatorsScript:
“Hello, my name is _________ and I’m calling Senator __________ to ask his/her position on the upcoming vote on SB1714.

If the answer is that the Senator will vote no, thank him/her and say that you are proud that they will vote No.

If the answer is undecided or they plan to vote yes, tell him/her that senate bill 1714 “WILL cause harm to the craft brewing industry in Florida AND create unnecessary regulation. Craft brewers are responsible parents, husbands, wives, and fellow voters who respect regulation of the industry, but this bill will hurt us all. I urge him/her to recognize the importance of growth and respect in this industry by voting NO to SB1714.”

It’s up to you!  If you support small business – join us and make the calls.

If increased regulation in business and unregulated Smackdowns in the Florida legislature go on, we’re going to need more craft beer than ever, that is if we can find one still in business in Florida.

One final note, I’m wondering how Senator Stargel will feel if her bill becomes law and the first craft brewer to go out of business sues her for the false promises she made today…  Oh, but this isn’t real life and WWE Smackdown is just pretend… or is it?

Wow, enough said – I need a beer.

To your safe imbibing!

Carol

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FL Legislation Pending to KILL Craft Brewing… What can “WE” do?

You may or may not be privy to the maelstrom brewing around craft brewing in our great state of Florida – and if you don’t you’re in good company!

Our newspapers and popular social media (including the big mass-produced-beer distributors) espouse the newest craft brewery openings and local festivals featuring photos of happy, upwardly mobile hipsters with kids in tow enjoying brews hand-crafted from the Tampa Bay area and beyond.  It would appear to an outsider that big beer and others support the growth of craft brewing…

Don’t be fooled!

The big beer distributors (especially those “featuring” Belgian owned Anheuser-Busch InBev) pour millions of dollars into Florida’s campaign funds to support the current self-professed “pro-business” (bahahaha!!! NOT!) legislators -dollars intended to PROTECT BIG BUSINESS and kill craft beer in Florida.

All told, there are almost a dozen house and senate bills making their way through the various committees and structures – intending to make sure that the small craft brewer pays the piper (the big beer distributors!) for their own beer that they wish to sell to willing patrons.

One such bill just passed its committee last week on a vote of 8-1 and would require breweries to pay a distributor a 30-40% profit on their own beer (that they bottle or can on premise) before they can sell it to their patrons. It doesn’t even have to leave their refrigerators – and the distributor can actually refuse to allow them to even do the sales in the first place!  And this is one of only a dozen pieces of legislation that the distributor’s lobbyists are pushing through in Florida – wait until you hear some of the other ludicrous proposals intended to “protect” and preserve the rights of big beer over the underdog craft brewers!!!

Here’s a recent piece on the situation:

the ledgerhttp://tinyurl.com/n6jte5s

Another great piece written by my colleague Sean Nordquist:

beer for the daddy

WHAT CAN WE (YOU AND ME AS FLORIDA VOTERS) DO?

The short answer is to TAKE ACTION (and not sit by and watch and say “it doesn’t really affect me…”  – small businesses in Florida affect all of us!)

The best course of action for any small business community that isn’t flush with cash (like the big beer distributors are!) is to assemble and support with facts.  This isn’t just about greed and bullying anymore, this hits to the very core of the American Dream – that the little guy, the craft brewers in Florida, can make it big – that our small brewers can join the nation and other states that CELEBRATE the growth of a highly innovative and family-friendly industry.  Our craft brewing industry is a collaborative small business industry that promotes other small businesses (festivals, community projects, farmers – yes farmers!, food trucks, State Fair, charities, local historical societies and so many others) – AND works together to promote a better Florida.  These are the mom-and-pop, bricks-and-mortar, small business at its finest, FLORIDA based businesses that need our support to survive (and thrive!)

Here’s my humble assessment (that I posted on Facebook) about the approach we (as a united group of Florida voters) need to take:

facebook

What do YOU think?  PLEASE give me guidance (and your email address if you’d like to participate in preparing a position paper to present to the Governor) – our future depends on all of us!

Happy imbibing!

Carol

Seasonal (Christmas) beers…

I was amazed today at the proliferation of seasonal and Christmas brews I found today in my local beer and wine outlet, Total Wine.  Florida used to be the domain of Anheuser Busch for many years and it is nice to finally have the “doors wide open” so to speak on craft beers from coast to coast.  My personal favorite is Anchor Steam’s holiday ale (reviewed previously).

In talking to the beer specialist at my local store, sales of higher end (750 ml specialty brews) were up sharply from 2009’s winter season.  Belgium imports such as Delirium and others are selling briskly – in fact the demand was depleting the extra cases they ordered for this year’s entire season.

There’s a lot of Christmas sampling I’m going to be doing in the coming weeks and I’ll include a few reviews as I test the draught varieties I find (sorry, I prefer that variety to the bottled ones.)

Meanwhile, in reverence to my Canadian heritage, I present this link to the Bob and Doug McKenzie 12 days of Christmas (the first day of Christmas presents a “Beer”)

Enjoy & happy holidays!

Until the next pint,
An unOfficial beer goddess.

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