As SB 186 goes into effect Wednesday, Gainesville brewers are preparing to celebrate.
The law makes Florida the 48th U.S. state where breweries and wineries can legally sell beer in 64-ounce containers, known as growlers. Previously, only 32-ounce and 128-ounce growlers were allowed to be sold.
John Denny, the head brewer and a co-owner of First Magnitude Brewing Co., said the brewery has been selling the 64-ounce containers in advance for $15 each, including the first fill once it’s legal. On Tuesday, 54 had been purchased so far.
Denny said Florida Sen. Rob Bradley will visit the brewery to celebrate its first evening selling the new growlers.
People often see 32 ounces as too little and 128 ounces as too much, Denny said, so filling 64-ounce containers will be more convenient.
“We’re very happy that we’ll be able to now fill that,” he said. “Filling growlers is nothing new. We’ve been able to do that. It’s just been in these very inconvenient sizes.”
Brandon Nappy, the marketing manager of Swamp Head Brewery, said the brewery will start selling 64-ounce growlers Wednesday. Normally $6 unfilled, they’ll be on sale for $3 the first day.
Nappy said he expects the sale of the new growler size to attract people from outside the state to come and patronize Florida’s growing craft beer industry.
“They can come here with their growlers and not feel like they need to purchase new containers, not feel like they’re being—quote, unquote—ripped off,” he said.
Danny Coenen, the manager of Hoggetowne Ale Works, Inc., said the law won’t directly affect the brewing supply store because it doesn’t sell beer.
He said he thinks legalizing 64-ounce growlers will help the the craft beer community as a whole.
“If it benefits Swamp Head, First Magnitude, and Alligator Brewing Company, it benefits us in the long run as well,” Coenen said.
Larry Winner, a University of Florida statistics instructor who visited Swamp Head Brewery Tuesday, said he looks forward to using his 64-ounce growlers from other states that have been sitting unused.
“This will make things a lot easier and more streamlined,” Winner said. “It’s been a long time coming.”