Proposals support beer sampling at Fla. venues

By Matt Horn , Nick Jones - Producer
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - Before you crack open a cold brew, some lawmakers think consumers should be able to know what the product tastes like first.

Beer distributors support the measure and say it's a great way to promote the product.

"Tasting is a great way for consumers to know the different products in the marketplace," said Mitch Rubin, who is in favor of the proposals.

A state Senate committee has approved a bill removing prohibitions on samplings at vendors in Florida.

Concerns were raised over whether tastings could occur in convenience stores, something that will be worked out later.

Susan Pitman, of Drug Free Duval, is against the idea. She hopes the proposal never makes it to Gov. Rick Scott's desk.

"You can conceivably see a mom at Publix do a beer tasting, get in her car with her three kids and have some kind of serious accident on the way home," said Pitman.

Another proposal was temporarily postponed Thursday. The bill would allow beer to be sold in 64-ounce jugs called growlers at craft breweries. Consumers can already purchase 32-ounce or 128-ounce growlers.

"I don't see how we can in good conscience say now we're for less regulation and then tell people down to the ounce what sizes they have to pour in their craft brewery," said Sen. Jack Latvala, someone who supports the growler bill.

Those in support agree they want to make sure the bills are passed responsibly in terms of beer tasting. Similar proposals have been introduced in the Florida House.

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