For drinkers, good news from Tallahassee: Florida lawmakers have passed a bill granting more freedom to craft distilleries and breweries.

Small-scale beer and spirit producers are seeing more opportunities for growth and exposure, according to a story on WJCT News.

The St. Augustine Distillery occupies the bottom floor of a 1920s-era ice plant that once produced huge frozen slabs for shrimp boats and homes. Amid the steampunk-looking copper stills and barrels of aging bourbon, co-founder and Chief Financial Officer Mike Diaz says business has blossomed since its grand opening just over a year ago.

Diaz said, “We have about 9,000 people through here each month. We sell product to about 35 percent of those.”

Diaz says he expects to extend the distillery’s reach thanks to a bill just passed by the Florida Legislature. Soon craft distilleries will be able to sell four bottles to consumers on site, up from the previous two-bottle allotment. For Diaz, this is big news.

Diaz said on a scale of one to ten, “it’s about a nine and a half. It’s a very significant change for us.”

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