New Fla. bill to allow distributors to make, sell "wine kegs" - Tallahassee News | ABC 27 WTXL: News

New Fla. bill to allow distributors to make, sell "wine kegs"

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Posted: Thursday, February 7, 2013 11:56 am | Updated: 7:20 am, Fri Apr 26, 2013.

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Two Florida lawmakers have filed legislation that could widen the availability of high-end wines available for purchase by the glass. 

The Florida Wine Canister Act, filed by Senator Wilton Simpson (R-Trilby) and Rep. Frank Artiles (R- Miami), would allow distributors and manufacturers to sell "wine kegs," or large wine containers, to businesses. Previous legislation limited the size of wine canisters to one gallon; the changes would allow an increase to six gallons per container.

"This legislation would simply remove antiquated red tape that arbitrarily limits wine container sizes in Florida," said Senator Simpson. "By updating these statutes, which were written just after the prohibition era, the Legislature would effectively allow Florida's hospitality industry to proceed with custom tailored wine by the glass programs through innovative new methods and with technology manufactured within my district."

The move wouldn't allow consumers to purchase the wine kegs unless they have a relationship with a distributor, according to representatives in Senator Simpson's office. However, she says that it would allow bars and restaurants to offer a wider variety of high-end wines by the glass. Bars and restaurants are usually hesitant to offer individual servings of these expensive vintages because the wine spoils faster once the bottle is open. 

"Wine canisters are an environmentally-friendly concept that will result in Florida-based manufacturing jobs, allow Florida's restaurants to reduce waste and streamline services," said Rep. Artiles. "Nationally, over 100 distributors distribute wine canisters in 36 states.   In fact, Texas and Pennsylvania have recently updated laws to allow wine canisters."

The measure will primarily affect a manufacturer, Micromatic, located in Brooksville, Florida. The director says the ability to make and sell wine kegs will grow their business and the Florida's hospitality industry.

"By removing these outdated regulations, the Legislature will effectively allow us to grow our Brooksville based manufacturing business while providing the Sunshine State's hospitality industry with more latitude. We believe this sustainable concept will be very popular in Florida and allow us to continue expanding our workforce and footprint in the state, while meeting consumer demand," said John Soler, Managing Director of Micro-Matic.

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