Florida theme parks may soon see beer-sponsored rides and events


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Universal might have Duff Beer in their Simpsons Springfield U.S.A. area, but Florida theme parks may be looking to have real beer companies gain a larger than ever presence in their parks.

A new proposed bill, SB 388, would allow brewers to sponsors attractions and events at major theme parks, reports the Orlando Sentinel. The bill would allow an exception to the current law that bans gifts or special deals from brewers to retail sellers.

To qualify, a park must be permanent and have “at least 25 contiguous acres owned and controlled by the same business entity,” as well as attract at least 1 million visitors per year. That would knock out most smaller attractions around the state. The brewer-sponsored attractions or events must take place inside the theme parks and couldn’t take place in other areas at the resort, such as the shopping districts or hotels.

According to the Orlando Sentinel, the bill has been championed by Universal Orlando and Anheuser-Busch, who formerly owned SeaWorld Parks and Entertainment before the brewer was bought by InBev, a European beer company. Smaller craft brewers seem to be concerned with what the new theme park sponsorships could mean for them.

Both Disney and Universal have long histories of working with both mainstream beer brands and local brewers, including Florida Beer Company, which has brewed custom, site-specific beers for both resorts.

The sponsorships allowed under the new bill would still allow for this mix of different brewers. As it’s currently written, the bill clearly states that any sponsorship shall “not limit, either directly or indirectly, the sale of alcoholic beverages from another manufacturer during or in connection with any sponsored events.”

The bill has already sailed through two committees, where it didn’t receive a single "No" vote. This week the bill will see another committee vote and, if it passes, it’ll then head to a full Senate vote. No word yet on what attractions brewers might sponsor but there’s plenty of rides where a little "liquid courage" could be used.

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