After years of growler sales in Florida restricted to craft breweries, the flood gates seem to be opening. First, ABC Fine Wine and Spirits began filling and selling growlers, including at its West Kennedy Boulevard store in Tampa. And now it’s Brass Tap’s turn.
Six Brass Tap locations began filling and selling growlers Friday, the start of what is expected to be a companywide initiative. The six locations are in downtown St. Petersburg, Wiregrass, Brandon, Carrollwood, Trinity and Lakeland. Nearly all its beers can be taken away in 32-ounce growlers, the company says. And that’s a lot: The downtown St. Pete Brass Tap has 70 beers on tap, including a heavy selection from Tampa Bay and Florida craft breweries.
“We’re excited about giving people an opportunity to try new beers,’’ said Joe Uhl, chief operating officer for the chain of craft taverns, which now total 12 with 38 more planned.
The decision to offer growlers came after extensive discussions with state and federal alcohol regulators, whose main concern seemed to center on the size of the containers — no 64’s allowed - along with proper labeling and seals. The seals presumably demonstrate to law enforcement that the container in your car is for home consumption, not driving while drinking.
The Brass Tap will sell its own 32-ounce growlers but will also refill growlers bought elsewhere. Each will be sealed after filling and labeled with the specific beer inside.
The Brass Tap’s move toward growlers adds an ally to what had been a craft brewers-only battle to legalize 64 ounce growlers. While the Florida Beer Wholesalers Association now says it does not oppose 64’s, anything can happen in Tallahassee. So having additional support should bolster the effort.
Besides, the more opportunities the public has to buy a growler the more support there will be to align with most other states and embrace 64s. And it’s one less reason to schlep to a distant brewery for fresh draft to go.