Craft beer festivals are tremendously popular in Florida. The multiplication of beer festivals throughout the state has caused the state’s principal regulator of alcoholic beverages–the Florida Division of Alcoholic Beverages and Tobacco (the ABT)–to take a closer look at how beer festivals are operated. Like all activities involving alcohol beverages, Florida beer festivals are subject to a confusing web of state and local laws and ordinances.
The following tips are intended to help organizers of Florida paid-admission beer festivals understand how state and local laws and ordinance may impact their festivals.
Each municipality (city and county) imposes an annual tax on the opportunity to conduct business within the municipality’s limits. Local business taxes (formerly known as occupational licenses) vary depending on the nature of business. A receipt is required for each place of business and for each separate classification at the same location.
Health approval is required on all applications for the 2COP license and other licenses permitting consumption of alcoholic beverages on the premises. Businesses that serve food or are located on premises licensed by the Department of Business and Professional Regulation’s Division of Hotels and Restaurants, must obtain approval from that division. Businesses that do not serve food must contact the County Health Authority or the Florida Department of Health. Contact information for County Health Authorities is available here.
When it comes to alcoholic beverage tastings in Florida, the rules are different for beer, wine, and liquor.
More and more property owners want to include breweries in their commercial spaces. As one example, here’s a listing for a commercial development in Eustis looking for a brewery tenant. Property owners recognize that brewery/taprooms bring in people.
Labels on alcoholic beverage containers must comply with both U.S. and Florida laws and regulations.
The reason these laws exist is to ensure container labels accurately represent the beverage inside. Beverage manufacturers must include specific information on the product labels. Florida manufacturers must also comply with the Florida Alcohol Beverage and Tobacco’s (ABT) label registration process and, in some cases, the federal Tax and Trade Bureau’s (TTB) label approval process.
I am personally inviting you to Florida Craft’s Kickoff Event, Wednesday, October 15, from 5 pm to 8 pm at Redlight Redlight in Orlando.
As many of you know, the Brewers’ Law team has for the last year been deeply focused on helping Florida beverage manufacturers—brewers, winemakers, and distillers—with the legal and regulatory steps for launching and operating their businesses. We’ve learned a couple of things from this experience: beverage laws are crazy and craft beverage makers are wonderful, hardworking, talented people fully deserving of their communities’ support. That’s why we helped create Florida Craft.
Florida Craft is a grassroots, non-profit association that supports and promotes Florida craft beverage manufacturers. It’s goal is to build community behind our craft beverage makers. We’re doing that in a big way on October 15, with our Kickoff Event. Please stop by, say hello, and have a Florida craft beverage (note: other states will be represented). It’s a come-and-go-as-you-please event, but I’ll be speaking with Redlight Redlight’s co-owner and master brewer, Brent Hernandez at about 6:30.
If you can’t make it to our Kickoff Event, don’t worry—you can still support Florida Craft. Join as a Florida Craft member and get your Florida Craft Card™. The Florida Craft Card™ gets your discounts and specials at Florida craft retailers throughout Florida. Participating retailers are stepping-up to help Florida Craft, and you can do your part by having a drink. How hard is that?
Thanks for supporting Florida Craft. Remember: You could drink a craft beverage made outside Florida, but why?