Posted by: Jun 25, 2019

Florida brewery owners face a dilemma: Not everyone likes beer. Craft cider continues to be a satisfying alternative for Floridians that don’t care for ales and lagers. So, why not make both? In fact, a growing trend among Florida breweries is to make cider in addition to beer.

From a regulatory standpoint, making beer and wine (including cider or any other fruit-derived alcoholic beverage) is possible, but it requires a couple of extra steps especially if the same equipment or premises will be used in production of both beer and wine.

Federal TTB Licensing for Brewery and Winery Alternating Premises

Before making beer or wine, a manufacturer must apply to the federal TTB for permission. Using the TTB’s Permits Online system, a manufacturer can submit both the Application for Brewery or Brewpub, to make beer, and the Application for Winery Operations, to make cider and other wines. Both applications can be submitted together, but it is possible for a manufacturer that already has an approved brewery license to apply for a new winery license (or vice versa).

In most cases, a manufacturer wanting to produce both beer and wine must request the TTB’s permission for alternating premises. Generally, the TTB has very strict rules about keeping beer and wine separate (largely because different tax rates apply), but the TTB will often allow manufactures to make beer and wine on the same premises. The key to managing an alternating premises, and to getting the TTB’s permission to do so, is to keep track of tax unpaid beer and tax unpaid wine, both in recordkeeping and in physical location within the premises.

To request TTB approve for alternating premises, follow these steps:

  1. Submit applications for a new brewery and/or new winery using the TTB’s Permits Online System.
  2. The TTB applications for both the brewery and wine operations must reflect alternation of premises.
  3. Both TTB applications must include the following requests for variances:
    1. Application to Use Brewery for Other Purposes; and
    2. Request for Alternate Method of Operation from Requirements of 27 CFR 25.81(c).
  4. Both TTB applications must be accompanied by two variance letters, each on the manufacturer’s letterhead and addressed to the Director of the TTB. One variance letter, supporting the Application to Use Brewery for Other Purposes, must provide the manufacturer’s agreement to comply with the requirements of 27 CFR 25.23(a). The other variance letter, supporting the Request for Alternate Method of Operation, must provide the manufacturer’s agreement to comply with the requirements of 27 CFR 25.81(c).
  5. The premises diagram accompanying both TTB applications must clearly identify the following:
    1. The equipment and areas that will be used for both brewing and winemaking, and
    2. The separate areas that will be used for storage of tax unpaid beer and tax unpaid wine.

Florida ABT Licensing for Brewery and Winery Alternating Premises

Approval by the Florida ABT is also required before making beer and wine. Seeking ABT approval for an alternating premises is similar to dealing with the TTB, but a bit easier. The Florida ABT’s process does not require specific requests for alternating premises and does not require submitting variance letters. However, it’s still important to ensure that the diagram submitted with the ABT license applications show the equipment and areas that will be alternating and separate areas for storing tax unpaid beer and tax unpaid wine.

To get Florida ABT approval for alternating premises, follow these steps:

  1. Submit separate Applications for New Alcoholic Beverage License for beer and wine.
  2. The application for the brewery (CMB) license must be accompanied by an original tax bond for a brewery. The minimum face value of the brewery bond is $20,000 unless the ABT specifically agrees to a smaller bond amount.
  3. The application for the winery (AMW) license must be accompanied by a separate original tax bond for a winery. The minimum face value of the winery bond is $5,000 unless the ABT specifically agrees to a smaller bond amount.
  4. Each license application should be accompanied by a premises diagram like the one submitted to the TTB.
  5. Prior to issuing the CMB license, the ABT will invoice for the CMB license. In jurisdictions where less than 6 months is remaining in the licensing year, the partial-year license fee is $1,500. In all other cases, a full year license fee of $3,000 must be paid.
  6. Likewise, prior to issuing the AMW license, the ABT will invoice for the AMW license. The AMW license fee is $750 when the remainder of the licensing year is less than 6 months and $1,500 for a full license year.

Florida breweries that will also begin making cider or other types of wine must pay attention to TTB and ABT rules about reporting and paying taxes and getting label and formula approvals. In many cases, these rules are similar to beer, but not in all cases. The best place to start is by closing reviewing the information provided by the TTB and ABT when the winery license is approved. You can also call us with any question.

Do you need help adding a winery license to your existing brewery, or do you want to launch a new brewery and cidery? Contact us at beer@brewerlong.com for more information.

Because we’re attorneys: This blog post is provided on an “as is” and “as available” basis as of June 23, 2019. We disclaim any duty to update or correct any information contained in this blog post, including errors, even if we are notified about them. To the fullest extent permitted by law, we disclaim all representations or warranties of any kind, express or implied with respect to the information contained in this blog post, including, but not limited to, warranties of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title, non-infringement, accuracy, completeness, and timeliness. We will not be liable for damages of any kind arising from or in connection with your use of or reliance on this blog post, including, but not limited to, direct, indirect, incidental, consequential, and punitive damages. You agree to use this blog post at your own risk. Regarding your particular circumstances, we recommend that you consult your own legal counsel–hopefully BrewerLong.