Types of Liquor Licenses in Florida

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Beverage License Specialists showcasing Florida's types of liquor licenses

To legally conduct business involving the purchase and sale of beer, wine, or other alcoholic beverages in Florida, you need the appropriate alcoholic beverage license.

    • First, you must determine what kind of Florida liquor license you need based on what type of business you operate.
    • The application process to get a liquor license in Florida can be complex and time-consuming, and it requires extensive documentation. You may need financing to cover the fees & expenses.
    • Beverage License Specialists can help you complete the application process step by step.

Businesses in Florida that want to serve beer, wine, or other drinks made with alcohol need a permit to do so. This requirement applies whether you serve drinks, sell beer in a retail establishment, or even store alcohol on your property. The general terms for such a permit are liquor license or alcoholic beverage license, though the state’s requirements set out different categories. Learn more about the types of liquor licenses available in Florida and how Beverage License Specialists can help you get yours.

Different Types of Florida Liquor Licenses

Florida’s requirements governing alcoholic beverage licenses describe 41 different types of these permits. Depending on the nature of your business, you may need more than one kind of license. Once you have your license, you will need to renew it annually to stay in good standing with the state. To operate legally, you must understand which kinds of Florida liquor license types you need and how to get them. Here are some of the most common types of liquor licenses in Florida.

    • A Retail Beverage license is the most common. It allows the business to sell beer, wine, or other alcoholic beverages on a retail basis. Many categories exist, and the one you need depends on the type of business you operate and what you want to sell. For example, if you are offering beer and wine, you need a license that covers both. If you are only selling beer, you need the permit for beer only.
    • A Bottle Club license authorizes a business operating as a bottle clubyour business to allow customers to bring in their own alcoholic beverages.
    • A Manufacturer’s license is for companies that produce alcoholic beverages and ships to wholesale vendors or distributors.
    • A Distributor’s license is for companies that import and distribute alcoholic beverages to retail vendors.
    • A Common Carrier License is for a business that engages in alcoholic beverage sales and the transportation of people, such as an airline, bus line or railroad & sleeping cars.
    • An Off-Premises Storage permit allows you to store alcoholic beverages somewhere other than your business if you already have the proper master license.
    • A State Bonded Warehouse permit allows manufacturers and distributors of alcoholic beverages to store their products.
    • An Event license can cover up to three days and allows a not-for-profit organization to host an event where alcohol is sold or served.

A Note About Quota Licenses in Florida

A Quota License is different from the other types of alcoholic beverage licenses available in Florida. With a Quota License, a business can sell beer, wine, and liquor. The company may or may not need an additional type of license depending on a variety of factors. However, the difference between a quota license and other kinds is that a quota license can be more challenging to obtain because of the limited number available.

The State of Florida only allows a new quota license to be issued in a given county once there is an increase of the population in that county of 7,500. For example, a county with an increase in population of 15,000 will have 2 new quota licenses made available. Individuals and businesses must enter the quota license lottery drawing and hopefully win the right to apply to get a quota license. The other option is to buy the license from an existing licensee that already has one.

Florida’s Dry Counties

If you are looking to establish a new business or expand your current one into a new market, keep in mind that not every county in Florida allows businesses to sell alcohol. If your success depends on the sales of spirits or liquors, you’ll want to avoid these counties, which are often called “dry” counties. Lafayette, Liberty, and Washington Counties are all currently dry. That status also applies to all the cities located within their borders.

Applying for a Liquor License in Florida

Before you begin the application process, you need a clear understanding of what your business will do with the beer, wine, and other alcoholic beverages you stock. For example, restaurants, package stores, and convenience stores deal with alcoholic beverages, operating in different environments. Here are some other considerations:

    • Can your customers bring in their alcohol?
    • What days of the week and hours of the day will you sell or serve alcohol?
    • How and where will you store the alcohol?
    • Will your business serve or sell alcohol only on your licensed premises? Or will you want to conduct alcohol sales offsite as well?

The answers to these questions help you decide what kind of Florida liquor license types you need to apply for.

The application process involves applying, along with the required fee and any supporting documents, including but not limited to your employer identification number, a copy of your business license, and proof of the needed business permits such as health, zoning, and sales tax.

The timeline for approval may be as long as six months, and the state may ask for additional documentation along the way. Don’t wait until the last minute to apply for your alcoholic beverage license; instead, make your application as soon as you can so that you have everything in place for opening day.

Where Can I Get Help With a Florida Liquor License?

Getting an alcoholic beverage license in Florida can be a complex task from the moment you start the process. Any errors, such as applying for the wrong kind of permit or failing to submit the correct documentation, can add time to the process of getting your license. You have many things to think about when you’re starting or expanding your business. Let the professionals at Beverage License Specialists handle the steps to get your Florida alcohol license. We know how to avoid the common pitfalls that cost applicants money and time.

Beverage License Specialists can help you get your company up and running with an alcoholic beverage license that complies with Florida’s requirements for offering alcoholic beverages for consumption on or off premise. With 33 years of experience, we have worked with all kinds of businesses all over the state. Not only do we know the requirements and how to navigate the complex system, but we do it all with a high level of service and outstanding communication. When you’re ready to start or expand your business, contact Beverage License Specialists for help with your liquor license needs, as well as financing options.

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