Beverage Importing Bills Prohibit Changes to Bottle Labels – HB 1201 & SB 1552

The Florida Legislature is considering a pair of bills aimed at Florida’s wine and spirits importers. House Bill 1201 and Senate Bill 1552 are mirror images of one another. If passed, the bills would make technical corrections surrounding the “American source of supply” designation and would prohibit alteration of imported bottles of wine or spirits.

The manufacturer, bottler, or licensed importer of wine or distilled spirits is required to register each brand with the Florida ABT. HB 1201 and SB 1552 provide a number of technical, “clean-up” changes to the statutes governing the registration of imported brands of wine and distilled spirits. Most notably, the bills would change the designation that is applied to the manufacturer, bottler, or licensed importer from “primary American source of supply” to “licensed American source of supply.”

The bills would also add a new prohibition aimed at importers of wine and distilled spirits. Upon passage, HB 1201 and SB 1552 would prohibit a person from altering the trademark of a manufacturer, bottler, or brand owner on products shipped into Florida. Label fraud is known to be a problem for the international trade of wine and spirits, and the sponsors of this bill appear concerned about keeping it out of Florida.

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