Are Florida’s craft beer breweries in trouble?

Jan 18, 2015

Beer distributors and retailers are challenging the way the state issues licenses to breweries with tasting rooms – a move that might eliminate drinking local beer at breweries altogether.

On Jan. 8, the Florida Retail Federation filed a suit against the state Department of Business and Professional Regulation to petition the way it has used two unadopted rules to allow breweries to sell their brews for consumption and as retail goods on premises.

"The lawsuit was a big surprise," said Walt Costello, an owner and brewmaster of Point Ybel Brewing Co. in south Fort Myers. "This lawsuit would put Point Ybel completely out of business."

He estimates roughly 95 percent of the beer they manufacture is sold in their tasting room.

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