Beer company promotions get House backing

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Beer companies would be allowed to sponsor events and participate in other "cooperative" advertising with major Florida theme parks, and beer distributors would be able to provide free branded glasses to bars and restaurants under a bill (SB 388) approved in a 110-9 vote Friday by the House.

The legislation, which heads back to the Senate, would let beer manufacturers join theme parks, like Universal Studios or SeaWorld, in cooperative advertising or promotional events.

Opponents of the bill have argued that Anheuser Busch InBev, the largest beer manufacturer, would have an unfair advantage in sponsoring theme-park events.

Rep. Tom Goodson, R-Rockledge, added an amendment to the bill that would allow beer distributors to provide, at no charge, up to 10 cases of glasses with brand names to each bar, restaurant or other licensed facility each year. A case could hold up to 24 beer glasses. 

Goodson's amendment revives the glassware legislation after a similar bill (SB 1040) stalled in the Senate following the resignation of Senate bill sponsor Frank Artiles, R-Miami.

Craft brewers, most distributors and MillerCoors have opposed the glassware bill, again arguing it would favor Anheuser Busch.