Alcohol Licensing for Florida Food Halls

Assortment of food and drinks. Unsplash Licensed. Credit: Rick Barrett on

Food halls have burst onto the scene in Florida, becoming a popular choice for both food enthusiasts and business owners. These vibrant spaces offer a wide array of culinary options and a lively atmosphere, making them a must-visit for anyone seeking a diverse dining experience. But did you know that behind the scenes, food halls face unique challenges when it comes to alcohol licensing in the Sunshine State? In this blog post, we’ll delve into the benefits of food halls, the tricky issue of alcohol licensing, and the best practices to keep these food havens thriving.

A Feast of Benefits for All

Imagine stepping into a bustling food hall, your senses tantalized by the aromas of cuisines from around the world. This is the magic of food halls – they’re like a culinary adventure where you can sample dishes from multiple vendors all in one place. Customers love the variety and energy of food halls, while business owners get to curate an exciting mix of vendors that keeps visitors coming back for more.

The Alcohol Conundrum

While food halls offer a smorgasbord of delights, there’s a unique challenge that owners must navigate: alcohol licensing. In Florida, managing who holds the reins of the premises is key to obtaining an alcohol license. The premises control can be divided among vendors or retained by the food hall owner or operator. The ultimate decision rests on agreements between vendors and the hall’s management.

Ideally, the food hall owner should secure a single alcohol license for the entire space. This ensures a seamless experience for visitors, as they can freely move around with their drinks. If vendors each have their own license, the law prohibits patrons from carrying drinks between areas controlled by different vendors. Imagine savoring a delicious drink from one vendor, only to be confined to a small space – not the food hall’s lively spirit!

The SFS License

Enter the SFS license – a great opportunity for food halls seeking a solution to alcohol licensing. This license lets food halls serve beer, wine, and spirits on-site, without the heavy costs of the 4COP quota license. To maintain an SFS license, the majority of sales (51%) must come from food and non-alcoholic beverages. The food hall owner must prepared to report to the Florida Division of Alcoholic Beverages and Tobacco (ABT) revenue breakdowns for sales across all food and beverage vendors on the premises. This license can be tricky to manage, but it’s a game-changer for food halls aiming to serve alcohol. Particularly where a food hall has vendors that rely to a large extent on package sales of beer and wine, it might be advantageous for the food hall to designate a “to go sales” area that has a 2COP license.

Manufacturing License

For food hall owners with aspirations of brewing or crafting spirits on-site, consolidating all alcohol licenses is crucial. If the manufacturing space is licensed separately, products can’t be sold directly to or by other vendors. Florida’s Three Tier System requires sales through independent distributors, complicating the process. By merging manufacturing and retail licenses under the food hall owner, beverages flow directly to customers – no middleman required.


In a symphony of flavors, food hall vendors share a common alcohol license. This means coordination is key, especially when it comes to inventory orders. The smart move is to treat it like a group effort. Vendors submit their orders to the food hall owner, who oversees the purchasing process. If the food hall owner is the one with the license, then he is ultimately responsible for all inventory. This ensures a harmonious blend of offerings that keeps patrons satisfied.


Food halls are a captivating world where culinary dreams come to life. While alcohol licensing poses its challenges, savvy owners can navigate them to create an unforgettable experience. From embracing the SFS license to harmonizing manufacturing licenses and streamlining orders, the secret recipe for a successful food hall lies in thoughtful planning and collaboration. So next time you step into a food hall, savor not just the flavors, but the intricate dance of licenses that make it all possible. Cheers to the vibrant world of food halls in Florida!

Because we’re attorneys: Disclaimer. Published 08/13/2023.

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