On the verge of joining the party
With all the issues remaining on the table this late in the legislative session, it’s good to know that state lawmakers haven’t forgotten about the finer things in life for many Floridians. Our palates, for one thing. If all goes as expected, the Senate will follow the House’s lead and as early as today adopt legislation that finally would bring wine kegs to Florida. It’s a move that Gov. Rick Scott should embrace, because it would help the environment, give bars, restaurants and other businesses a boost, and provide consumers another choice. Beer is available in kegs. Wine should be, too.As it stands, a Prohibition-era state law generally prohibits the public sale of wine in individual containers exceeding a gallon in size. But under the pending legislation, 5.16-gallon kegs — which hold about 26 bottles of wine — would be allowed in Florida. Sen. Wilton Simpson, a Pasco Republican sponsoring the measure in the Senate, touts recycling as a major benefit. Indeed, the kegs are reusable, and their usage would reduce the number of individual bottles that must be disposed of. Bars, restaurants and other businesses would save money because wine wouldn’t go to waste. According to supporters, Florida is one of the last states holding out. And experts say any worry consumers may have about the wine going stale or flat is unfounded — that the last glass will be as good as when the keg is tapped. Some national restaurants have been waiting for Florida to come to the keg party, according to The Palm Beach Post. That’s because they want “consistency” in their products. These businesses haven’t used the kegs in other states because Florida hasn’t joined the national movement. Prohibition is long past, lawmakers. It’s time for Florida to tap the keg and let the wine flow — responsibly, of course.