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Florida breweries write Gov. DeSantis, plea to move beyond curbside business

Posted at 6:20 PM, Jul 22, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-22 23:10:58-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — The Florida Brewers Guild penned an open letter to Governor Ron DeSantis, saying breweries are at risk of closing their doors because they're categorized like nightclubs.

In their letter to Gov. DeSantis the Florida Brewers Guild says of the 300 breweries part of their association more than 100 are on the verge of closing.

The letter states the 100 breweries are a “manufacturing industry first and a retail second.”

Jesse Ross is the operations manager at Lake Tribe Brewing.

"You don't know when your time is coming because there's no end in sight," said Ross.

His brewery along with breweries across Florida still feeling the impacts of COVID-19, but they say Gov. DeSantis and the Department of Business and regulation can change that.

Ross says they hope to get Gov. DeSantis to consider that breweries aren't exactly the same as bars and night clubs.

They say state restrictions are grouping breweries with bars and nightclubs.

Leaving breweries who don’t have a food license, like DEEP Brewery in Tallahassee, limited to curbside.

"We’re all trying to kind of scrape by until we can get to the other side of this," said Ryan Lapete, the owner of DEEP Brewing.

Lapete says while they are managing to stay afloat others their fellow brewers are making tough decisions.

"It's not the ideal situation," Lapete said.

Lapete says they are in survival mode and just want to be heard.

"And since nobody’s listening and it might just be that everyone’s overwhelmed, it’s an unprecedented event," said Lepete.

Lapete says DEEP is operating at only 30 percent now, but thanks Tallahassee for their support.

The Governor has not changed his position on the issue but local brewers say they will continue to fight to be heard.

"A lot of breweries, especially us locally here, have gone above and beyond to comply with the states regs," said LaPete.

The Guild will release another letter Thursday with updates on the state of breweries in Florida.

ABC 27 reached out to the Department of Business and Professional Regulation and has not heard back yet.