The brouhaha over beer glasses advanced Tuesday, with a House panel approving a bill (HB 583) that would let distributors give free “branded” glassware to bars and restaurants.
The House Careers & Competition Subcommittee supported a measure, sponsored by Rep. Tom Goodson, R-Rockledge, that would allow distributors to give away up to three cases, with two-dozen glasses each, of up to three different brands to each retailer.
Rep. Randy Fine, R-Palm Bay, added a provision to the bill that would prohibit the distributors from giving away the glassware as a competitive “inducement.”
But the legislation remains opposed by MillerCoors, most of the distributors and the craft brewers who view the proposal as a way for Anheuser-Busch InBev, the largest brewer, to increase its market share.
“It's bad for consumers and it's bad for business,” said Earl Benton, owner of Champion Brands, a Jacksonville distributor. The bill now heads to the House Commerce Committee.
A similar measure (SB 1040), sponsored by Sen. Frank Artiles, R-Miami, is advancing in the Senate.
The Senate bill would allow distributors to give away five cases of 24 glasses per year to bars and restaurants, with no limit on the brands.