Miami's beer makers have officially unionized. Sort of. The owners of two Miami-Dade County breweries rallied their brewer colleagues to form the Miami Brewers Alliance, a sort of advocacy and education group for local craft-beer businesses.
Local brewers felt the need for protection last month, when a bill moving through the Legislature could have required breweries to sell and buy back their product from distributors before pouring it to consumers. SB 1714 was one of a handful of pieces of legislation addressing restrictions on Florida's craft-beer business in recent years, and it was vigorously fought by small breweries.
"The [Miami Brewers Alliance] has been in planning for a while," says Leon, "but the recent scare with the bills gave us a good reason to start it now so we can be prepared for next year if it comes up again."
The Alliance will plan beer festivals and provide training or education, but Leon says it will also advocate "for legal reforms in Tallahassee that will help our craft industry grow."
The group's first meeting was Monday, May 19, at Wynwood Brewing Company. Leon was appointed president, WBC's Brignoni vice president, Jesse Morris of Concrete Beach Brewing is secretary, and Peter Schnebly of Miami Brewing Company (and Schnebly Winery) is treasurer. Membership is open to brewers in the industry, but also homebrewers and craft-beer enthusiasts.
MBA's first order of business, now that the legislative session is over? Planning BrewMiami, a festival set for later this year.