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04.25.2013  
 

Open the Taps in Florida

State lawmakers approve law change to allow wine kegs

 
by Andrew Adams
 
 
free flow wines
 
Free Flow Wines' winery clients could soon be selling their product in keg format to consumers in the Sunshine State thanks to a law change in Florida.

Tallahassee, Fla.—Nightclubs in Miami may soon have rosé on draft now that state lawmakers have approved a law that would make wine kegs legal here.

In a unanimous vote Thursday, the Florida Senate approved a bill that updates state law to allow wine to be served from reusable containers no larger than 5.16 gallons. The law had previously limited wine containers to just one gallon.

By updating these statutes that were written just after the Prohibition era, the legislature is effectively allowing Florida’s hospitality industry to proceed with custom-tailored wine-by-the-glass programs through innovate new methods and with technology manufactured in my district,” said state Sen. Wilton Simpson, the Republican lawmaker who sponsored the bill. Draft equipment manufacturer Micro-Matric has a facility in Brooksville, Fla.

The law already received unanimous approval by representatives from the state’s House and just needs the signature of Gov. Rick Scott. Florida and Utah are the only two states that currently prohibit wine kegs, which are now distributed in 36 states.

Keg proponents argue the format keeps wine fresher, helps ensure consistent quality and makes bar and restaurant service easier as staff don’t have to mess with cases of bottles. Draft wine is also considered greener because it reduces the number of bottles, closures and capsules going into the trash. “I am very pleased that all 160 members of the legislature recognize that these canisters benefit consumers, Florida’s tourism industry and the environment, and I’m proud to have sponsored this legislation,” Simpson said.

Dan Donahoe and Jordan Kivelstadt, founders of Free Flow Wines in Sonoma, Calif., advocated for the law change. The company fills 5.16-gallon kegs for more than 100 winery clients and works with Satellite Logistics Group to handle shipping and warehousing.

"This is a tipping point for the wine industry, and the single biggest innovation in the business in decades. Large national accounts love the concept due to zero waste, higher margins and the green aspect of wine on tap — but the limitations in Florida have been a barrier for them,” Donahoe said in a statement. "Wine on tap is the purest expression of wine from the vineyard to the consumer's glass."

 

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