Florida | Read Time: 3 minutes

Mobile Alcohol Sales Are (Mostly) Not Permitted in Florida

Imagine a business–call it Mobile Bar–that brings the bar to you. You hire Mobile Bar for a reception, party or other event held at your home, office, or other private property. Mobile Bar has a cool, old trailer, truck, or standing bar that it brings to your location. Mobile Bar handles buying all the beer, wine and liquor and bringing it to your event. Mobile Bar provides the bartender, who hands out beer, pours wine, and mixes cocktails. This is a cash bar, so Mobile Bar handles the sales too. Mobile Bar sounds great, right? You might have even seen Florida businesses that provide this exact same service. Here’s the problem: Mobile Bar, and mobile alcohol vendor services like it, are not legal in the State of Florida. The Florida Beverage Laws do not support independent, mobile alcohol sales. In other words, there is no license available in Florida that allows the licenseholder to sell to the general public primarily beer, wine or liquor, whether in sealed containers or by the drink, from non-fixed locations, whether on public or private property. And selling alcoholic beverages without a license is a crime in Florida (See Florida Statutes Section 562.12). Mobile Alcohol Sales Have a Place Problem The Florida Beverage Laws (Florida Statutes Chapters 561-565) make it clear that no person or company can sell alcoholic beverages without a license. Two criteria are primarily important to getting a license: the licensed individuals and the licensed premises. First, all of the individuals who will be involved in owning or managing an alcoholic beverage business must be identified an provide information about themselves (see Identifying the Interested Parties of a Florida License Applicant). Second, the location where alcohol will be sold and consumed–the licensed premises–must be identified and described in detail. The Florida Beverage Laws and regulations require that the premises be suitable for selling alcohol, including compliance with local zoning ordinances. Also, the licenseholder must show that it has legal control over the licensed premises, at least while alcohol is being sold and consumed. This means that the licenseholder must own the premises, have a lease to the premises, or have some other contract giving the licenseholder control over all sales and consumption of alcohol on the premises. The Florida Beverage Laws will only grant the right to sell alcohol to the individuals who can control its consumption in a specific place and only if local laws allow alcohol to be sold in that place. These location-specific licensing requirements are in most cases at odds with the purpose of a mobile bar service–to provide limited alcohol sales, on private property, for events organized by someone else. To be clear: the Florida Beverage Laws do not prohibit renting a cool old truck, trailer, or standing bar for use by a private party giving away alcohol at a hosted event. But that’s a much different business model than mobile alcohol sales. When it comes to selling alcohol in Florida, the location matters a lot. If Mobile Bar’s business is centered on selling alcohol at places that are not approved for alcohol sales, then it’s a business that does not work under the Florida Beverage Laws. Some Limited Exceptions Of course, there are exceptions to every rule, including the Florida Beverage Laws’ prohibition on mobile alcohol sales. There are some licenses available that do allow services mobile alcohol sales, for instance alcohol catering by a quota licenseholder (see Alcohol Catering with Florida Quota License) or licensed alcohol caterer (see Working with Beverage Caterers). But the limitations on these exceptions are significant and put them in a much different business model than our fictional Mobile Bar describe above. The following table briefly describes the most relevant “exceptions” to the Florida Beverage Laws’ prohibition on mobile alcohol sales and the limitations on those exceptions. See the Florida ABT’s Licenses and Permits for Alcoholic Beverages for a complete list of available licenses. Exception (License Class) Limitations Food Caterers (13CT) Only available to licensed food caterers; must derive at least 51% of food and beverage revenue from sales of food and non-alcoholic beverages; sales of alcohol only permitted at events the same caterer is providing food catering Quota License Holders (QUOTA) Only limited number of quota licenses are available per county Temporary Permit (ODP) Only available to bona fide non-profit organizations or municipalities; limited to 12 permits per year for events not exceeding 3 days at a time Public Fair (FEX) Only available to organized public fairs and expositions in connection with events held on the fairgrounds Mobile Vehicles (X) Sales permitted only to passengers; vehicle must be engaged in interstate commerce or travel between fixed terminals and on a fixed schedule Do you have any questions about mobile alcohol sales in Florida? Contact us at contact@brewerlong.com to schedule a consultation with a beverage attorney. Because we’re attorneys: Disclaimer.

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Beverage Legislation | Read Time: < 1 minute

Florida Beverage Legislation: 2022 Pre-Session Review of Beverage Bills

The 2022 Session of the Florida Legislature will include consideration of a number of bills affecting breweries, wineries, distilleries, retailers and consumers. The 2022 regular session of the Florida Legislature kicks off Tuesday, January 11, 2022. This 2-month session will see the consideration of a number of bills that could affect the Florida beverage industry as soon as July. For a refresher on how a bill goes from being introduced to becoming law in Florida, check out the Florida Senate’s Idea-to-Law Flowchart and the Florida League of City’s short video: Florida’s Legislative Process 101. The following chart provides a summary of this session’s beverage-focused bills. We’ll check back in on the status of these bills at end of the session. Do you have any questions about how these proposed changes to Florida Beverage Laws could affect your beverage business? Contact us at contact@brewerlong.com to schedule a consultation with a beverage attorney. Because we’re attorneys: Disclaimer.

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The Florida Wineries Report | Read Time: 2 minutes

THE FLORIDA WINERIES REPORT – OCTOBER 2021

MONTHLY HIGHLIGHTS Florida Wineries: Every manufacturer of alcoholic fruit wine, cider, perry, mead or kombucha is required to be licensed as a winery in Florida. The Florida Wineries Report reflects their taxpaid sales of these products. The Data: The Florida Wineries Report reflects data published by the Florida ABT, which is available online here. The ABT monthly publishes the taxpaid sales for each winery and distributor. Unfortunately, the ABT does not publish wineries’ sales to distributors. This means that the Florida Wineries Report reflects only wineries’ taxpaid sales, which are generally made in their tasting rooms. Each April and October, wineries with lapsed licenses and no taxpaid sales within the past 12 months are purged from the Florida Wineries Report. A total of 14 wineries with inactive licenses have been purged in this report. The New Wineries: Bowigens Beer Company (Orlando). Total Number of Wineries: In October 2021, the total number of licensed wineries stood at 114. Of those, 56 wineries reported taxpaid sales for the month. Monthly Performance: Month-to-month taxpaid sales rose by 1.03% in October 2021. Total taxpaid sales during the rolling last-twelve-months (LTM) increased by 0.25%. Average Monthly Production: For reporting wineries, the average taxpaid sales per winery in October 2021 was 95.19 gallons, a monthly increase of 0.97 gallons per winery. Distribution: In October 2021, Florida wineries’ taxpaid sales accounted for 0.16% of all wine gallons sales in Florida (1.6 out of 1,000 wine gallons sold). Would you like The Florida Wineries Report as an Excel spreadsheet? Reports for this month and all months back to July 2021 are available at this link: https://brwlng.co/FLWineries FLORIDA WINERIES REPORTS FOR THIS MONTH Our first table shows each Florida winery’s taxpaid sales volume for the month. Not every Florida winery makes retail sales in a tasting room or taproom. Our next table shows retail sales by each winery for the last 12 months (LTM) ending this month. Our next table looks at the change in each winery’s LTM taxpaid sales from last month. This provides an estimate of a winery’s growth rate from one month to the next, at least to the extent of retail sales. The rightmost column identifies wineries that have less than 12 months of reported taxpaid sales. Each month, a number of wineries report no retail sales or other taxable activities. The next table lists the licensed wineries that reported no activity for the twelve months through this month. Because we’re attorneys: Disclaimer.

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The Florida Breweries Report | Read Time: 2 minutes

THE FLORIDA BREWERIES REPORT – OCTOBER 2021

MONTHLY HIGHLIGHTS The Data: The Florida Breweries Report reflects data published by the Florida ABT, which is available online here. The ABT monthly publishes the taxpaid sales for each brewery and distributor. Unfortunately, the ABT does not publish breweries’ sales to distributors. This means that the Florida Breweries Report reflects only breweries’ taxpaid sales, which are generally made in its taproom. Each April and October, breweries with lapsed licenses and no taxpaid sales within the past 12 months are purged from the Florida Breweries Report. A total of 39 breweries with inactive licenses have been purged in this report. The New Breweries: Hopsized Brewing (Bonita Springs) and Dissent Craft Brewing Company (St Petersburg). From Brewpub to Production Brewery: None this month. Breweries with a CMB license can sell to licensed distributors. Where a brewery upgrades its license, the tables below denote the CMBP license with * and the CMB license with ^. Total Number of Breweries: In October 2021, the total number of licensed breweries stood at 385. Of those, 326 breweries reported taxpaid sales for the month. Monthly Performance: Month-to-month taxpaid sales rose by 0.99% in October 2021. Total taxpaid sales during the rolling last-twelve-months (LTM) were down 0.87%. Compared to October 2020, LTM taxpaid sales were up by 17.49% in October 2021. Average Monthly Production: For reporting breweries, the average taxpaid sales per brewery in October 2021 was 27.11 barrels, a monthly increase of 0.99 barrels per brewery. Distribution: In October 2021, Florida breweries’ taxpaid sales accounted for 0.90% of all beer sales in Florida (9.0 out of 1,000 beers sold). Would you like The Florida Breweries Report as an Excel spreadsheet? Reports for this month and all months back to January 2015 are available at this link: https://brwlng.co/FLBreweries. FLORIDA BREWERIES REPORTS FOR THIS MONTH This table shows each Florida brewery’s taxpaid sales volume for the month. Not every Florida brewery makes retail sales in a taproom or brewery. Our next table shows retail sales by each brewery for the last 12 months (LTM) ending this month. Our next table looks at the change in each brewery’s LTM taxpaid sales from last month. This provides an estimate of a brewery’s growth rate from one month to the next, at least to the extent of retail sales. The rightmost column identifies breweries that have less than 12 months of reported taxpaid sales. Each month, a number of breweries report no retail sales or other taxable activities. The next table lists the licensed breweries that reported no activity for the twelve months through this month. Because we’re attorneys: Disclaimer.

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Breweries | Read Time: 3 minutes

Out-of-State Suppliers: Check Requirements of 3 Destination State Agencies

Before selling alcoholic beverages in another state–whether directly to consumers (where permitted) or through an in-state distributor–a supplier must know what preliminary compliance is required in that state. In most cases, an out-of-state supplier is required to obtain permission from one or more government agencies of the destination state. While each state’s requirements are different, an out-of-state supplier is required to register with or receive a permit or license from the destination state’s (1) alcoholic control agency, (2) business companies agency, and/or (3) revenue agency. 1. Licensing by the Destination State’s Alcohol Control Agency Most states require out-of-state alcoholic beverage suppliers (sometimes called out-of-state shippers) to be licensed by the destination state’s alcohol control agency. This is true whether the supplier is permitted to send alcoholic beverage products directly to consumers in the destination state–as is often the case for wineries–or the supplier is contracting to sell and cause delivery to licensed distributor or wholesaler in the destination state. Out-of-state brokers and importers, who may not ever take possession of alcoholic beverage products, must often be licensed as out-of-state suppliers before arranging deliveries to an in-state distributor. A prime example of the licensure required for out-of-state suppliers exists in Georgia. Before a brewery, winery, or distillery, or an alcoholic beverage broker cause products to be delivered to a Georgia wholesaler, it must obtain an Out-of-State Supplier license issued by the Georgia Alcohol & Tobacco Division. Georgia’s Out-of-State Supplier licensing process requires submitting personnel statements, citizenship affidavits, and a tax liability bond. Georgia, like many other states, also requires the out-of-state supplier to identify the in-state licensed wholesaler it has appointed and identify the brands that will be sold in the state. And, of course, the Georgia Alcohol & Tobacco Division charges a licensure fee. 2. Qualification to Do Business by the Destination State’s Business Companies Agency Prior to being licensed as an out-of-state supplier in many states, the supplier is required to be qualified to do business in the destination in state. Qualifying or registering to do business in a state does not apply solely in the context of alcoholic beverage, it is a general requirement for any foreign business company that will be doing more than a little business in a state. Qualifying to do business in a state generally requires registration with the state’s business companies agency, which is often part of the Secretary of State’s office. For example, out-of-state suppliers who want to make sales in Wyoming must first register through the Wyoming Secretary of State (see reference in this Wyoming Liquor Division Licensing Guide). The registration process involves providing basic information about the company, designating an in-state Registered Agent, and paying an annual registration fee. The requirement of an in-state Registered Agent can provide a challenge for out-of-state companies. Several companies provide Registered Agent services for every state, for an annual fee. An internet search for “registered agent services” provides a number of options. 3. Register with the Destination State’s Revenue Agency Even in situations where an out-of-state supplier is not required to be licensed by the destination state’s alcoholic beverage agency, it might be required to register with the state’s revenue agency. This is most often the case where the state separates alcoholic beverage regulation and alcoholic beverage excise tax collection between two agencies: an alcoholic beverage agency and state revenue agency.  For example, in New York, out-of-state suppliers are treated as “distributors” for alcoholic beverage excise taxes. They are required to register with the New York Department and Finance. Do you have any questions about selling alcoholic beverages outside your home state? Contact us at contact@brewerlong.com to schedule a consultation with a beverage attorney. Because we’re attorneys: Disclaimer.

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The Florida Wineries Report | Read Time: 2 minutes

The Florida Wineries Report – September 2021

Florida wineries had a good September, with over 6% monthly sales growth. Monthly Highlights Florida Wineries: Every manufacturer of alcoholic fruit wine, cider, perry, mead or kombucha is required to be licensed as a winery in Florida. The Florida Wineries Report reflects their taxpaid sales of these products. The Data: The Florida Wineries Report reflects data published by the Florida ABT, which is available online here. The ABT monthly publishes the taxpaid sales for each winery and distributor. Unfortunately, the ABT does not publish wineries’ sales to distributors. This means that the Florida Wineries Report reflects only wineries’ taxpaid sales, which are generally made in their tasting rooms. Each April and October, wineries with lapsed licenses and no taxpaid sales within the past 12 months are purged from the Florida Wineries Report. The New Wineries: Citrus Distillers (Jacksonville). Total Number of Wineries: In September 2021, the total number of licensed wineries stood at 127. Of those, 124 wineries reported taxpaid sales for the month. Monthly Performance: Month-to-month taxpaid sales rose by 6.08% in September 2021. Total taxpaid sales during the rolling last-twelve-months (LTM) increased by 1.64%. Average Monthly Production: For reporting wineries, the average taxpaid sales per winery in September 2021 was 103.91 gallons, a monthly increase of 5.95 gallons per winery. Distribution: In September 2021, Florida wineries’ taxpaid sales accounted for 0.21% of all wine gallons sales in Florida (2.1 out of 1,000 wine gallons sold). Would you like The Florida Wineries Report as an Excel spreadsheet? Reports for this month and all months back to July 2021 are available at this link: https://brwlng.co/FLWineries Florida Wineries’ Monthly Taxpaid Sales This table shows each Florida winery’s taxpaid sales volume for the month. Not every Florida winery makes retail sales in a tasting room or taproom. Florida Wineries’ LTM Taxpaid Sales Our next table shows retail sales by each winery for the last 12 months (LTM) ending this month. Florida Wineries’ LTM Growth in Taxpaid Sales Our next table looks at the change in each winery’s LTM taxpaid sales from last month. This provides an estimate of a winery’s growth rate from one month to the next, at least to the extent of retail sales. The rightmost column identifies wineries that have less than 12 months of reported taxpaid sales. Florida Wineries With No Reported Activity Each month, a number of wineries report no retail sales or other taxable activities. The next table lists the licensed wineries that reported no activity for the twelve months through this month. Because we’re attorneys: Disclaimer.

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The Florida Breweries Report | Read Time: 2 minutes

The Florida Breweries Report – September 2021

Florida breweries had a pretty good month for September 2021, with total monthly sales, monthly sales per brewery, and LTM sales all up. Monthly Highlights The Data: The Florida Breweries Report reflects data published by the Florida ABT, which is available online here. The ABT monthly publishes the taxpaid sales for each brewery and distributor. Unfortunately, the ABT does not publish breweries’ sales to distributors. This means that the Florida Breweries Report reflects only breweries’ taxpaid sales, which are generally made in its taproom. Each April and October, breweries with lapsed licenses and no taxpaid sales within the past 12 months are purged from the Florida Breweries Report. The New Breweries: Epoca Brewing (North Miami), Oyster City Brewing Co. (Tallahassee), and Dunes Brewing (Port Orange). From Brewpub to Production Brewery: Craft Life Brewing (Hudson). Breweries with a CMB license can fill growlers, sell bottled or canned products for consumption off premises, and sell to licensed distributors. Where a brewery upgrades its license, the tables below denote the CMBP license with * and the CMB license with ^. Total Number of Breweries: In September 2021, the total number of licensed breweries stood at 422. Of those, 389 breweries reported taxpaid sales for the month. Monthly Performance: Month-to-month taxpaid sales rose by 3.68% in September 2021. Total taxpaid sales during the rolling last-twelve-months (LTM) were up 1.94%. Compared to September 2020, LTM taxpaid sales were up by 18.48% in September 2021. Average Monthly Production: For reporting breweries, the average taxpaid sales per brewery in September 2021 was 26.50 barrels, a monthly increase of 0.81 barrels per brewery. Distribution: In September 2021, Florida breweries’ taxpaid sales accounted for 0.90% of all beer sales in Florida (9.0 out of 1,000 beers sold). Would you like The Florida Breweries Report as an Excel spreadsheet? Reports for this month and all months back to January 2015 are available at this link: https://brwlng.co/FLBreweries. Florida Breweries Monthly Taxpaid Sales This table shows each Florida brewery’s taxpaid sales volume for the month. Not every Florida brewery makes retail sales in a taproom or brewery. Florida Breweries Report – Reported Monthly Taxpaid Sales for August 2021 Our next table shows retail sales by each brewery for the last 12 months (LTM) ending this month. Florida Breweries’ LTM Growth in Taxpaid Sales Our next table looks at the change in each brewery’s LTM taxpaid sales from last month. This provides an estimate of a brewery’s growth rate from one month to the next, at least to the extent of retail sales. The rightmost column identifies breweries that have less than 12 months of reported taxpaid sales. Florida Breweries With No Reported Activity Each month, a number of breweries report no retail sales or other taxable activities. The next table lists the licensed breweries that reported no activity for the twelve months through this month. Because we’re attorneys: Disclaimer.

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Blog | Read Time: 6 minutes

FL Breweries & Distilleries: Be Wary of Home Delivery Service Apps

The terms and conditions for popular food and alcohol delivery service apps may be incompatible with the Florida Beverage Law’s prohibition on alcohol home delivery by breweries and craft distilleries. Florida Breweries and Craft Distilleries are Prohibited from Making Deliveries to Customers The Florida Beverage Law (specifically Florida Statutes Section 561.57(1)) generally allows licensed alcohol vendors to accept remote orders from retail customers and deliver the ordered products to the customers. These permitted deliveries can be made either in vehicles owned or leased by the vendor or by third party delivery providers under contract with the vendor. This is what allows customers in Florida to order beer, wine, or liquor from a grocery store, alcohol package store, or most other licensed vendors and get delivery at home. Not so for Florida breweries and craft distilleries, however. The Florida Beverage Law specifically prohibits brewery taprooms and craft distilleries to make deliveries away from their taprooms or gift shops. Regarding craft breweries, the Florida Beverage Law provides: A manufacturer possessing a vendor’s license under this subsection is not permitted to make deliveries under s. 561.57(1). Florida Statutes Section 561.221(2)(d) (2021). Florida Statutes Section 561.221(2) specifically authorizes breweries to have licensed taprooms, but subsection (d) provides that these taprooms are not allowed to make deliveries according Section 561.57(1). Craft distilleries are also specifically prohibited from making deliveries away from their gift shops: A craft distillery may not ship or arrange to ship any of its branded products or any other alcoholic beverages to consumers and may sell and deliver only to consumers within the state in a face-to-face transaction at the distillery property. Florida Statutes Section 565.03(2)(f)3. (2021). When it comes to delivery services, here is the key question: Does the delivery service app rely on delivery providers that are the agent of the seller or the customer? If the app relies on delivery providers that are the agents of the seller, then the Florida Beverage Laws clearly prohibit breweries and craft distilleries to make sales through those services. On the other hand, if the app’s delivery providers are the agents of the the customer or the app itself, then breweries and craft distilleries can make sale through those services. The big problem? Delivery service apps don’t always make clear the role of the delivery provider–as agent of the seller or the customer. Following is a brief review of the terms and conditions (as of November 2021) of 6 popular food and alcohol delivery service apps, to get at this question of agency. Grubhub – Probably Agent of the Seller Grubhub’s terms of service do not clearly define the role of the delivery provider. However, the terms suggest that it is more likely the case that the delivery provider is the seller’s agent. Grubhub is a virtual marketplace Platform that connects hungry diners with third-party service providers, including local restaurants and independent delivery service providers. You may order food through the Platform to be delivered from particular restaurants, including their authorized licensees and franchisees, or other purveyors of food in cities throughout the United States and other territories where Grubhub provides such Services (collectively, the “Restaurants”). Grubhub is not a delivery company or a common carrier. Some deliveries are provided by Grubhub’s network of independent delivery service providers (“Delivery Partners”). Delivery Partners have entered into agreements with Grubhub which require them to comply with all applicable federal, state, and local laws, rules and regulations, including, without limitation, traffic laws, requirements of the applicable motor vehicle agency, and applicable insurance requirements. By accessing the Platform, you agree and acknowledge that Delivery Partners are solely responsible for, and Grubhub shall not be liable or responsible for, the delivery services provided to you by any Delivery Partner or any subcontractors of Delivery Partners, or any acts, omissions, errors or misrepresentations made by any Delivery Partner. https://www.grubhub.com/legal/terms-of-use (emphasis added) While it’s clear that the Delivery Partners are not Grubhub’s agent, it is not clear whether they are the agents of the sellers or the customers. However, the terms indicate that the orders are “delivered from particular restaurants,” suggesting that the delivery process starts with the seller nor the customer. This leans in favor of concluding that the Delivery Partner is the seller’s agent, in which case Florida breweries and craft distilleries may be prohibited from using them. Uber Eats – Agent of the Seller Things are a bit clearer for Uber Eats, but not in a manner that favors their use by breweries and craft distilleries. For the avoidance of doubt, (i) [Uber] is an unlicensed entity that facilitates the promotion, marketing, and/or sale of Alcohol Items by third parties via the App(s); and (ii) Merchant is a licensed seller of alcoholic beverages that wishes to sell Alcohol Items via the App(s). Orders for Alcohol Items solicited via the App(s) will be transmitted to Merchant. Merchant is responsible for, will be clearly identified during, and shall control the sale of any orders for Alcohol Items, including any decisions regarding accepting, fulfilling, and rejecting orders for Alcohol Items. Each Delivery Person shall deliver Alcohol Items under and pursuant to Merchant’s Required Licenses and, as necessary, as Merchant’s third-party beneficiary. https://www.uber.com/legal/en/document/?name=uber-eats-merchant-alcohol-terms-of-use&country=united-states&lang=en (emphasis added) In this case, it’s more clear that (a) the Uber Eat app is a tool for sales by the seller, and (b) the Delivery Person is acting for an on behalf of the seller. That means that the Florida Beverage Laws most likely prohibit breweries’ and craft distilleries’ sales through Uber Eats. Instacart – Agent of the Customer Unlike Grubhub and Uber Eats, Instacart’s terms point toward the conclusion that the delivery provider is the agent of the customer, not the seller. When you use the Services to place an order for goods, you authorize the purchase of those goods from the Retailers you select and, if you have selected delivery services, the delivery of those goods by Third Party Providers. Unless otherwise specified, you acknowledge and agree that Instacart and the Third Party Provider are collectively acting […]

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Blog | Read Time: 3 minutes

How Florida Beverage Laws Affect Fortified Wine

Fortified Wine – What Is It? “Fortified wine” generally refers to any wine to which a distilled spirit has been added. Common examples of fortified wine include port, sherry, madeira, and vermouth. The most common fortifying ingredient is brandy, a liquor produced by distilling wine. Not surprisingly, Florida law (and indirectly federal law) does a fine job of handling brandy-fortified grape wine, but questions remaining concerning more exotic varieties: Will adding a fortifying spirit make the product no longer wine? Put another way, how can wine be fortified and still be considered wine? The Florida Statutes define fortified wine as all wines containing more than 17.259% alcohol by volume (ABV). See Fla. Stat. s. 564.01. “Wine”, in the same statute, is defined as all beverages made from fresh fruits, berries, or grapes, either by natural fermentation or by natural fermentation with brandy added, “in the manner required by the laws and regulations of the United States.” The statute also includes in the category of wine “sake, vermouths, and like products.” The Florida Division of Alcoholic Beverages and Tobacco (ABT) has confirmed that cider and mead are both considered wine under Florida law. See ABT Informational Bulletin 2016-001. So, can sake, cider, and mead by fortified, and will it still be considered as wine under Florida law? Fortified Wine Must be Fortified from the Same Base Ingredient To be considered wine (and not a distilled spirit product) for federal and state legal purposes, fortified wine must be fortified only with “brandy or wine spirits” made from the same fruit as the wine and the fortified wine must not exceed 24% ABV. See 26 U.S.C. sec. 5373. For instance, grape wine may only be fortified by brandy. Accordingly, fortified cider will still be considered wine only if it is made by adding apple brandy or applejack to cider. Fortified mead may only be made by adding to mead a distillation of mead or “honey jack.” However, a 1977 ATF ruling clarified that imported fortified wine can be made from other sources of alcohol “provided the use of alcohol is regarded as an authorized fortification procedure and as a standard winemaking process in the country of origin and further provided that the alcohol content is not increased to more than 24 percent by volume.” See ATF Ruling 77-33. Excise Taxes and License Implications for Fortified Wine In Florida, adding any other distilled product to wine means that the product can no longer be considered wine. This has implication for the applicable excise tax rates (both federal and state), the labeling requirements for the product, and the licenses required to make, distributor, and sell at retail the distilled spirit product. The federal excise tax rate on fortified wine ranges from $1.07 to $3.15 per gallon, depending on the alcohol content. The Florida excise tax rate on fortified wine is $3.00 per gallon, whereas the Florida excuse tax rate for non-fortified wine is $2.50 per gallon. (Tax rates current as of November 2021.) Florida wineries (holding an AMW license ) are permitted to make fortified wines. The ABT’s approved wine manufacturing report does require the manufacturer to report all fortified wine made or received from other wineries. However, federal and Florida require require a distillery license to make brandy or other wine spirits. Federal law expressly allows wineries to obtain wine spirits from a distilled spirits plant (without payment of excise taxes). Presumably, Florida law also allows Florida wineries to obtain wine spirits for this purpose (how else would it make fortified wine), but the Florida Beverage Laws and regulations do not state this expressly. Fortified wine may be distributed by licensed Florida distributors holding a JDBW license, and they may be sold at retail by vendors holding a 2APS/2COP or higher vendor license. Do you have any questions about making, distributing or selling fortified wine in Florida? Contact us at contact@brewerlong.com to schedule a consultation with a beverage attorney. Because we’re attorneys: Disclaimer. Yoast SEO

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