The state’s Division of Alcoholic Beverages and Tobacco (DABT) issues several kinds of liquor licenses. But it is worth noting that the application entry period for the highly sought-after quota license runs from August 16 to September 29. This is the license for selling spirits, wine, and beer without any restrictions regarding the physical space and nature of the business. Whereas some licenses are specific to restaurants, hotels, or country clubs, this license works for every retail establishment. It is the required license for package liquor stores and bars that serve spirits but do not serve food.
Applying for a quota license
The application process occurs annually in the early fall. The applicants are chosen via a lottery system. The licenses are tied to the county they are issued in, with the number of licenses tied to population – one license per 7,500 residents. Entrants can only file one application form per county.
The counties (and the available number) are:
Alachua (1), Brevard (1), Broward (1), Charlotte (1), Collier (1), Dade (2), Duval (2), Hillsborough (4), Lake (2), Lee (2), Manatee (2), Marion (1), Martin (1), Okaloosa (1), Orange (4), Osceola (2), Palm Beach (3), Pasco (2), Pinellas (1), Polk (6), St. Johns (1), St. Lucie (2), Santa Rosa (1), Sarasota (1), Seminole (1), Sumter (1) and Volusia (2).
Other important details:
- How much: The entry fee is $100 per application
- Where to apply: Go to http://www.myfloridalicense.com/DBPR/online-servicesto apply using a credit card or get a FORM DBPR ABT 6033 from the local Department of Business and Professional Regulation (payment is by check or money order).
Contact the Division by phone at (850)-488-8284 or write at the Division of Alcoholic Beverages and Tobacco to get more information.
Those with serious plans to open a new off-sale business, bar, restaurant, or another endeavor cannot rely on a lottery to get their license. Instead, they turn to the secondary resale market, where a quota license can cost $65,000 to $600,000 or more. The process gets complicated and expensive when prospective buyers line up:
- Cost of the license and financing
- Transfer fees
- Clearing other administrative or legal hurdles
Prospective buyers and sellers can also make this process less stressful by working with an attorney who negotiates a fair price, handles the deal’s details, and takes care of the paperwork involved.