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Gov. Scott signs growler bill into law

Citing a need for pro-business policies and eliminating regulations, Gov. Rick Scott on Thursday signed a new law aimed at helping grow Florida’s craft beer industry, including the long-awaited legalization of 64-ounce growlers.

The new law, which goes into effect July 1, will allow breweries to open tap rooms and sell their beer directly to consumers.

“By making the sale of 64 ounce growlers legal in Florida, we are eliminating another burdensome regulation and allowing more Florida businesses to succeed,” the governor said in a statement. “We are pleased to continue to create a world class business environment where all businesses, including breweries, can succeed.”

Craft brewers and their advocates in the Legislature have argued that strict regulation over the distribution of beer in Florida has made it hard for their industry to flourish. The growler in particular — a half-gallon, refillable jug — is standard in the industry but has long been illegal in Florida.

The bill has been carried for three years by Tampa Bay lawmakers, including Sen. Jack Latvala, R-Clearwater, and Rep. Dana Young, R-Tampa. This year, freshman Rep. Chris Sprowls, R-Palm Harbor, sponsored it in the House.

“By legalizing the 64 ounce growler and streamlining the regulation of craft brewers, the bill increases competition and taps a great Florida resource that will benefit businesses and consumers alike,” Young said in a statement.

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