Why are Florida liquor licenses so highly coveted?
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Why are Florida liquor licenses so highly coveted?

On Behalf of | Apr 14, 2020 | Alcoholic Beverage Law |

If you hope to open a bar and grill, you’ll need a liquor license to cover the bar part. That may seem obvious, but getting your license is often easier said than done.

This is because Florida law limits the number of licenses available. The result is that licenses are highly coveted, and if you get one, you’ll want to defend it vigorously.

The Florida liquor license quota

As the Tampa Bay Times noted prior to the state’s latest liquor license lottery, Florida is one of just a few states that hold lotteries for a limited number of liquor licenses. In fact, the article noted there were only 48 new licenses available for 2020, split between 26 counties.

If you’re looking to sell alcohol as part of your business, you need to win one of these licenses through the lottery. Otherwise, you need your business to qualify for one of the license quota exemptions, or you need to buy someone else’s license.

Accordingly, sellers have a good market, and Florida liquor licenses can go for anywhere from $100,000 to more than $300,000. In other words, you’ll likely invest considerable time and money in securing your license. You’ll have good incentive to safeguard it.

Defending your license from foreclosure

Just as your license’s value gives you good reason to protect it, it also provides you some leverage. Businesses have numerous expenses—some of which may be entirely unexpected. To pay these expenses, especially when they arise from things like lawsuits, you may need to accept a lien against your license.

However, this means the lien holder could potentially file with the state, and you could face the foreclosure or judicial transfer of your license. For many businesses, this could represent an existential crisis. Could your business survive without a liquor license?

The importance of your license—as well as the fact it’s not easy to secure a license—ought to spur you to action. You want to make sure you get a clear picture of:

  • The dispute
  • Your rights
  • Your responsibilities
  • Your best course of action

Make sure your attorney can guide you through all the important aspects of the litigation, including those related to the underlying dispute as well as those involving your liquor license.

Holding a Florida liquor license is like winning the lottery

Florida’s liquor license quota creates a scarcity of supply that adds to your license’s value. It also reinforces the importance of protecting your license.

There’s no telling how easily you’d be able to replace your license. It’s possible you’d literally need to win the lottery to get another.