As a business owner, incorporating the sale of alcohol into your restaurant, grocery store, hotel or more can be a huge benefit. While this can draw in many customers, alcohol beverage law is a complicated area of the law to understand. It is critical to follow and comply with Florida’s regulations concerning both alcohol and employment to protect your business.
Florida statute 562.13 discusses the restrictions for vendors serving alcohol licensed under the beverage law for positions of manager, bartender or other positions of authority. Such establishments may not employ anyone convicted of the following offenses in the past five years: violations of beverage laws, soliciting or letting premises for prostitution, pandering, keeping a disorderly place or any felony.
There are also restrictions in place regarding the age of employees in establishments where alcohol is sold or served. Generally, Florida law states that venders licensed under the beverage law cannot employ anyone under the age of 18. However, there are some exceptions to this rule.
Exceptions when alcohol is sold for consumption off premises
Florida law states exceptions to minors working at the following types of establishments that sell beer or wine for consumption off premises:
- Grocery stores
- Gift shops
- Automobile service stations
- Department stores
For example, a grocery store where alcohol is sold may employ minors, as long as alcohol is not sold to drink at the store.
Exceptions to employing minors in foodservice or at hotels
Exceptions also apply to establishments like restaurants and hotels. In the foodservice industry, 17-year-olds who are high school seniors may work at establishments where alcohol is sold with written permission from their school principal, if they are not part of the sale, preparation or service of alcohol. At hotels, minors may work as bellhops, elevator operators or other similar positions, as long as they work in an area separate from where alcohol is sold.
Other exceptions to employing minors
Florida statute 562.13 also does not apply to the following situations:
- Employees who are 17 years old, not in school and employed as professional entertainers
- Entertainment establishments employing minors with a waiver
- Minors employed by bowling alleys who are not involved in alcohol services
- Dinner theatre employees who are minors, if they are actors or musicians
These exceptions do not apply to entertainment professions that involve nudity on the part of the minor or as a form of adult entertainment.
It is important that you as a business owner understand Florida’s alcohol laws to protect your business and ability to serve liquor. These licenses may be difficult to get in some cases, but they may ultimately be very worth it for the development of your business.