Florida bottle law tough to change

Lawmaker faces opposition on measure that would broaden market

Nov 8, 1999 - Florida Republican senator Tom Lee plans to introduce legislation that would repeal a law that limits how beer is sold in Florida. The reaction has been an avalanche of protests from lobbyists who want to keep the law.


"Even if it's a trivial matter in the overall scheme of things," Lee said. "The more you get into it, the more incensed you get that there's stuff like this in the statutes."

The law in question has been on the books for decades and allows beer to be sold only in sizes of 8, 12, 16 or 32 ounces. The law originally was meant to benefit Anheuser-Busch at the expense of one of its rivals, Miller, Lee said. Now it limits the availability of imported beer, since much of it is packaged based upon metric measurements, and microbrewed beer, since 22-ounce bottles are popular.

Lee faces strong opposition from beer distributors, and he has not been able to find a sponsor for his bill in the state House.