• New Changes to Florida Beverage Laws Start Today
  • August 10, 2016 | Authors: Jacqueline Bozzuto; Tara L. Tedrow
  • Law Firm: Lowndes, Drosdick, Doster, Kantor & Reed Professional Association - Orlando Office
  • Changes to Florida’s Beverage Laws have drawn attention and controversy over recent years as groups ranging from small craft breweries to major retail vendors have lobbied for legislative amendments to the State’s regulations. As of July 1, 2016, a host of changes to Florida’s Beverage Laws will take effect, and all parties licensed to manufacture, distribute and sell alcoholic beverages should take note.

    The Florida Division of Alcoholic Beverages and Tobacco ("Division"), in the Department of Business and Professional Regulation (“Department”), licenses and regulates the sale of tobacco products and alcoholic beverages, collects and audits taxes and fees paid by licensees, and enforces the laws and regulations of the alcoholic beverage and tobacco industries. According to the House of Representative’s final bill analysis, the new changes of the Florida Statutes will:
    1. Provide a 3-year statute of limitations where the Division may review and assess taxes on a person required to pay taxes on tobacco products;
    2. Permit persons required to remit tax on tobacco products, to correct a return;
    3. Permit the Division to provide alcoholic beverage vendor licenses to railroad transit stations, with limitations;
    4. Clarify licensure requirements for food service establishments selling alcoholic beverages pursuant to an alcoholic beverage license;
    5. Require a deposit for alcoholic beverages sold in kegs, and an inventory and reconciliation process as an accounting alternative for specified vendors;
    6. Permit vendors to transport alcoholic beverages through another premises owned or operated in whole or in part by the same vendor;
    7. Provide taxation provisions for passenger vessels that sell alcoholic beverages and tobacco products; and
    8. Permit the Division to issue a temporary permit authorizing a municipality, county, or charity to sell alcoholic beverages for consumption on the premises of an event only, for a period not to exceed three days, subject to specific requirements.
    Whether you are operating a restaurant, working for a distribution company or selling tobacco products, Florida’s Beverage Laws strictly regulate the manufacturing, distribution and vending of alcohol and tobacco in the State. The failure to comply with the requirements under such laws, as newly amended, can subject businesses and individuals to fines and a range of penalties.