The firm represents commercial clients and investors in the food and beverage industry. A client recently inquired about the purchase of a “Quota License” this week, and the client raised several important questions relative to licensing for beer, wine and liquor sales.
The Florida Division of Alcoholic Beverages and Tobacco (ABT) enforces the laws and regulations including licensing of alcoholic beverages. While there are multiple different licenses issued by ABT, there are basically three-(3) categories of licenses:
- Beer & Wine;
- SRX- Special Restaurant;
- Full Quota.
The first category, Beer & Wine licenses such as 1APS, 2APS, 1COP, & 2COP, are issued by the local office of the Division of ABT. The locations may be found at the ABT’s website: http://www.myfloridalicense.com/dbpr/abt/district_offices/licensing.html. These license(s) are subject to an annual fee, which vary by county. The fee was $392.00 in Hillsborough County last year. However, please see Fla. Stat. § 568.01 for limitations on this license type.
A SRX-Special Restaurant license is similar to beer/wine licenses in the fact that there are no limits on the number of licenses issued. The SRX License, however, requires the establishment to derive 51% of gross revenue from food, maintain 150 seats, and in most counties maintain 2500 sq. feet of floor space. Hillsborough Co. and Dade Co. require 4000 sq. feet of floor space. Fla.Admin.Code 61A-3.0141 provides for the maintenance of certain records by the restaurant to demonstrate compliance for the license such as purchase invoices, checks, and financial statements.
Quota licenses are the “trump card” regarding licenses for the sale of beer, wine and liquor. They are limited in the number as only one-(1) license is permitted per 7,500 county residents. The local municipality, however, must permit for the sale of intoxicating liquor an area that is zoned accordingly. As long as lawfully permitted, beer, wine, and liquor whether for consumption on premises or off will be available to the holder of Quota licenses.
Quota licenses are portable in the County of issuance, but Quota license may not be transferred beyond the County of issuance. This type of license may be very important for establishments that sell less than fifty one percent-(51%) percent food, and thus, do not qualify for a SRX license. Quota licenses are finite in number. Each year ABT conducts a lottery for the issuance of new, i.e., additional Quota licenses to the applicants. Approximately thirteen-(13) were issued last year in Florida. The number of Quota license are limited as an establishment must either (1) purchase an existing license or (2) or enter the quota drawing to win the right to apply for a quota license.
Please do not hesitate to contact the law firm should you have any questions or concerns regarding beverage licensing in Florida.