Licensing And Permitting
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Experienced Licensing And Permitting Guidance For Florida’s Alcoholic Beverage Businesses

With a network of state and federal licensing requirements, entrepreneurs in Florida’s beer, wine and liquor industry trust Rubert Law to give them knowledgeable guidance and assistance. Our team, led by liquor license attorney Samuel Rubert, works exclusively with bars, liquor stores, breweries, restaurants and others in the alcoholic beverage industry.

We are thoroughly prepared to help you obtain the licenses and permits necessary for your business to function, whether you are starting a new entity or expanding an existing company into a new field.

Licensing For The Alcohol Industry

Licensing includes state and federal licenses as well as local business permits at the city and county levels necessary to operate an alcoholic beverage business.

At the state level, the Division of Alcoholic Beverages and Tobacco (DABT) is the regulatory agency charged with licensing and regulating the industry. There are alcoholic beverage licenses for vendors, manufacturers, importers, and distributors, along with various other types of permits necessary to fully implement an alcoholic beverage business.

At the federal level, the United States Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) licenses and collects taxes from alcoholic beverage businesses. Upper-tier industry members (wholesalers and manufacturers) must be very concerned not only with their state licenses, but also with federal licensing. The time frames for TTB to process license applications can often be three months or more, so it is imperative to file the most complete and accurate application as soon as possible with the help of an alcoholic beverage law attorney.

Permitting Requirements

Permitting includes local permits from the cities and counties necessary to operate an alcoholic beverage business. Often, you cannot obtain your state licenses until you have your local business permits, so while many clients worry about getting their liquor license, the first thing they should be concerned with is whether or not the license will be allowed to be placed into location by the local zoning authorities.

Knowing the specific rules that apply to your proposed location is essential not once you are done building, but at the inception of a project when you are developing your business plan and negotiating a lease.

Frequently Asked Licensing Questions

Navigating licensing and permitting for Florida’s alcoholic beverage businesses can be a challenge. Depending on the scope, size, and location of your business, you may feel confused about where to start. Below are some common questions we hear.

What Is A Quota License?

Quota beverage licenses are some of the most sought-after licenses in Florida as they allow the sale of wine, beer, and other alcoholic beverages in an establishment. However, the number of licenses available are limited and distributed by county. Florida permits one license to be issued per 7,500 people living in the county.

There are two ways to obtain a quota license:

  1. Purchase a quota license from a business owner looking to sell an existing license; or
  2. Enter the annual Quota License Lottery Drawing.

Quota licenses can vary in price based on a number of contributing factors, such as the county, supply and demand for licenses in that area, and any other competing bids. For those wondering how much a quota license costs when purchasing an existing license, the cost can vary greatly and the state does not determine the price. Working with a liquor license attorney can help ensure that you are getting a fair deal for something that is likely critical to the success of your business.

What Is The Annual Quota License Lottery Drawing?

Florida holds an annual lottery drawing for businesses and individuals to enter for a chance to win a quota license in a select number of counties. Before opening the drawing, the state lists the counties involved in the lottery and the number of licenses available per county. Depending on the county, some may have more than one available. The entry period opens every year on the third Monday in August and applicants have 45 days to enter.  The winners are then announced in a public drawing.

The lottery is popular and regularly receives thousands of entries for the limited number of available licenses. While chances of winning may seem slim, it costs $100 to enter the drawing and is a much less expensive alternative to purchasing an existing license from a seller.

Contact An Alcoholic Beverage Law Attorney

For more specific information about your business’ licensing and permitting needs, contact Rubert Law in Miami at 305-809-7669 or in Weston at 954-546-7951 to schedule an appointment with an experienced lawyer. Our firm represents business clients throughout Florida, including in Orlando and Tampa.