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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ABT | Read Time: 5 minutes

2021 Florida Craft Distilleries Law: 5 Unanswered Questions

We reviewed the 2021 Florida Craft Distilleries Law in two prior blog posts–2021 Florida Craft Distilleries Law: General Overview and 2021 Florida Craft Distilleries Law: Destination Entertainment Venues–but questions remain. Following are just five questions we have about the new law. Question #1: Can new Florida craft distillery apply directly for the DD(CD) license? It is unclear whether a new craft distillery must first obtain a Florida distillery (DD) license and only then can request designation as a craft distillery (DD(CD)). Concerning licensing of a craft distillery, the 2021 Florida Distilleries Law added the following statutory provision: A distillery may not operate as a craft distillery until the distillery has provided to the [Florida Division of Alcoholic Beverages and Tobacco] written notification that it meets the criteria specified in paragraph (1)(b). Upon the division’s receipt of the notification and its verification that the distillery meets all such criteria, the division shall add the designation of craft distiller on the distillery’s license. Fla. Stat. S. 565.03(2)(a) (2021) The answer to this question is worth $3,000. That is, the annual license fee for a DD license is $4,000, whereas the annual license fee for a DD(CD) license is $1,000. Will the ABT require a new applicant to first pay $4,000 to obtain a DD license before requesting the “craft distillery” designation, or will the ABT allow an applicant to provide the craft distillery written notification at the time of application and pay only $1,000? Question #2: Can Florida breweries with a craft distillery license sell distilled products from their taproom? The 2021 Florida Craft Distilleries Law has already generated strong interest among licensed breweries and wineries wanting to also manufacture and sell distilled products. Nearly all Florida breweries and wineries have an adjoining taproom or tasting room with a vendor license–most often, a 2COP (beer and wine, consumption on premises or carryout) license. Now that Florida craft distilleries are authorized to sell their own distilled products, for consumption on premises, from a “gift shop or tasting room” attached to the distillery, can that be the same space as the brewery taproom or winery tasting room? Where the brewery taproom or winery tasting room has the 2COP license, the answer is probably no–at least until the ABT says otherwise. The premises of a license–the physical space covered by a license–is significant under the Florida Beverage Law. It is unlawful to sell particular alcoholic beverages–whether beer, wine, or distilled spirits– except on the premises covered by the license. See Fla. Stat. S. 562.02. Generally, one licensed premises cannot overlap another licensed premises. The 2021 Florida Craft Distilleries Law authorizes retail sales of distilled spirits as part of the DD(CD) manufacturing license itself, meaning that the distillery’s gift shop/tasting room must be part of the licensed distillery itself. That is, a craft distillery that is attached to a Florida brewery should be permitted to make sales from its owned tasting room that is covered by the craft distillery license, but probably not from a 2COP licensed taproom attached to the brewery. However, the Florida Beverage Law supports at least two exceptions. First, a brewery or winery with a craft distillery, that also has a 4COP (beer, wine, and liquor) licensed taproom or tasting room, should be able to transfer its own distilled products to the 4COP licensed premises for sale under that license. Nothing prohibits a brewery’s taproom having a 4COP quota license or a 4COP-SFS restaurant license. Second, Florida law does allow “special low proof products”, however derived, distilled, mixed, or fermented and which contain less than 6 percent alcohol by volume, to be sold by 2COP licensed vendors. See Fla. Stat. S. 564.06(5)(b). However, the ABT’s existing rule concerning these special low proof products is much more restrictive, limiting the definition of special low proof products to “products sealed by the manufacturer and offered for sale to vendors through licensed distributors in the originally sealed containers.” FAC Rule 61A-3.050. Particularly in light of the 2021 Florida Craft Distilleries Law, this rule may require modification. Question #3: How does a craft distillery obtain a permit to regularly participate in farmers markets? Under the 2021 Florida Craft Distilleries Law, craft distilleries may providing tastings and sales at organized, including farmers markets. The entire statutory provision is here: Craft distilleries may conduct tastings and sales of distilled spirits produced by the craft distilleries at Florida fairs, trade shows, farmers markets, expositions, and festivals. The division shall issue permits to craft distilleries for such tastings and sales. A craft distillery must pay all entry fees and must have a distillery representative present during the event. The permit is limited to the duration and physical location of the event Fla. Stat. 565.17(2) (2021). How will craft distilleries apply for the required permit? Will one permit allow a craft distillery to participate in the same farmers market every week, or will separate permits be required? What will be the cost of each permit? The ABT will have to provide answers to these questions. Question #4: How will Florida craft distilleries comply with the Florida agricultural products requirement? Effective July 1, 2026, Florida craft distilleries will be required to ensure that a minimum of 60 percent of their total finished branded products are distilled in Florida and contain one or more Florida agricultural products. Our sister website and blog, Groves Law, which focuses on the law of Florida agribusiness, already did a deep-dive into what might constitute “Florida agricultural products” for this purpose, but hopefully additional guidance will be provided by the ABT. In addition to what constitutes “Florida agricultural products”, how will the ABT verify that this requirement is met? What records will the distillery be required to keep? Are “total finished branded products” counted by volume or by package? There are a lot of practical questions that must be answered before this requirement becomes effective? Question #5: How many destination entertainment venues (DEVs) will we see? A large part of the 2021 Florida Craft Distilleries Law is focused on […]

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Breweries | Read Time: 3 minutes

Florida Roadway Signs for Beverage Manufacturers

If life is a highway, where do you stop for a drink? With over 274,000 lane miles–seventh most in the United States (per Cubit’s Blog)–Florida offers a lot of ways for people to get to where they’re going, including breweries, wineries, and distilleries. To help people get there, the Florida Statutes authorize roadway directional signs for qualifying alcoholic beverage manufacturers located in the state. Roadway Signs for Florida Breweries Florida Statutes Section 563.13 authorizes the Florida Department of Transportation to install directional signs on interstate highways and other roads for certain breweries. To qualify, the Florida brewery must produce a minimum of 2,500 barrels of beer per year on the premises. The brewery must be open to the public at least 30 hours per week and must offer tours. A Florida brewery that wishes to apply for a roadway directional sign must apply to the the Florida Department of Transportation and pay the cost of installing and replacing the sign. Roadway Signs for Florida Wineries Certified Florida Farm Wineries are permitted to request a roadway directional signs pursuant to Florida Statutes 599.004. Certified wineries are those that participate in the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services’ Florida Farm Winery Program. Farm winery certification is limited to wineries that produce at least 250,000 gallons of wine annually (60% or more of which is made from state agricultural products), maintain at least 5 acres of land in Florida, and are open to the public for tours, tastings, and sales at least 30 hours each week. To install a roadway sign, a Certified Florida Farm Winery must apply to the Florida Department of Transportation and pay $250 and the cost of installing the sign. Roadway Signs for Florida Distilleries Directional signs are authorized for qualified Florida craft distilleries (Florida Statutes Section 565.03(6)). To qualify as a craft distillery, the distillery must produce no more than 75,000 gallons of distilled spirits annual and notify the Florida Division of Alcoholic Beverages and Tobacco (ABT). Like breweries and wineries, Florida craft distilleries wanting to have a roadway sign installed must apply to the Florida Department of Transportation and pay the cost of installing the sign. Roadway Sign Application Process The Florida Department of Transportation has authority for installing roadway directional signs. The process for applying for a new sign is governed by Florida Administrative Code Rule 14.51. Requests must be made in writing to the  District Traffic Operations Engineer for the Department District where the sign is proposed. Beverage manufacturers that qualify for a roadway sign are not guaranteed to get one. All requests are subject to space availability and take into consideration a variety of factors, including local government recommendations. For roadway signs, the highest preference is given to destinations that attract a larger number of trips from distances greater than 100 miles. Do you have questions about applying for a directional sign for your Florida beverage manufacturer? We’d love to discuss it with you. Contact us at contact@brewerlong.com to schedule a consultation. Because we’re attorneys: This blog post is provided on an “as is” and “as available” basis as of the date of publication. 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.

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Beverage Legislation | Read Time: 2 minutes

Florida Beverage Legislation: 2021 Pre-Session Review of Beverage Bills

The 2021 Session of the Florida Legislature will include consideration of a number of bills affecting breweries, wineries, distilleries, retailers and consumers. The 2021 regular session of the Florida Legislature kicks off Tuesday, March 2, 2021. This 2-month session will see the consideration of a number of bills (though not as many as in prior years) 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 questions about how these proposed changes to Florida Beverage Law could affect our business or your plans for a new beverage business? Contact us at contact@brewerlong.com to schedule a consultation. Because we’re attorneys: This blog post is provided on an “as is” and “as available” basis as of the date of publication. 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.

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Breweries | Read Time: 4 minutes

Summary Guide to Florida Alcohol Delivery

Who can delivery beer, wine, and distilled spirits directly to the homes of Florida customers? See the following summary chart and the explanations below. Florida Breweries Cannot Deliver Alcohol to Customers’ Homes While certain breweries are allowed by Florida law to sell alcoholic beverages to customers, breweries are specifically prohibited from delivering alcohol away from their licensed taproom or brewpub. Florida breweries have two routes to selling beer to customers: a retail licensed taproom or a brewpub. Taprooms may have a retail license to sell beer, wine or distilled spirits for consumption on premises or carry-out (a 2COP or 4COP license), but the provision of Florida Statutes that makes that possibly specifically states that breweries cannot make deliveries away from the taproom. See Florida Statutes Section 561.221(2)(d). Breweries with a brewpub license (CMBP) may sell alcoholic products for consumption on premises only. Florida Wineries Can Deliver Alcohol to Customers’ Homes Like breweries, Florida wineries can have a retail license, which allows them to sell beer, wine or distilled spirits for consumption on premises or carry-out. For this purpose, wineries includes cideries and meaderies. Unlike breweries, Florida wineries are not prohibited from delivering alcoholic beverages to customers’ homes. Retail-licensed vendors in Florida are generally permitted to make deliveries away from their places of business. See Florida Statutes Section 561.57. Deliveries must be made in vehicles owned or leased by the vendor or in a third-party vehicle pursuant to a contract with the third party, such as a common carrier. A winery with a retail vendor license is not prohibited from making deliveries as provided by Section 561.57. Florida Distilleries Cannot Deliver Alcohol to Customers’ Homes Unlike Florida breweries and wineries, Florida distilleries are not permitted to hold a retail license. Because they cannot hold a retail license, distilleries cannot make deliveries to customers homes as provided Section 561.57. Certain Florida distilleries, which the statutes call “craft distilleries”, are permitted to have gift shop at which packaged products can be sold. Under current law, Florida craft distilleries are limited to selling not more than 6 individual containers of each branded product to each customer per year. See Florida Statutes Section 565.03(c). The craft distillery statute requires that sales must be in face-to-face transactions, for the customers personal use and not for resale. While craft distillery gift shops can make retail sales, the craft distillery is not granted a retail vendor license. This matters, because Section 561.57 allow pertains to deliveries made by licensed retail vendors. Florida Distributors Cannot Deliver Alcohol to Customers’ Homes Licensed Florida distributors, along with importers and broker sales agents, are only permitted to sell alcoholic beverages to licensed manufacturers and other licensed distributors. Accordingly, this group is prohibited from selling alcoholic beverages directly to customers in all circumstances. Florida Non-Manufacturing Retailers Can Deliver Alcohol to Customers’ Homes As discussed above, Florida licensed retail vendors are permitted to make deliveries to customers, as long as the vendor is not also a brewery. See Florida Statutes Section 561.57. Again, deliveries must be made in vehicles owned or leased by the vendor or in a third-party vehicle pursuant to a contract with the third party, such as a common carrier. Delivery Services Contracted by Florida Retailers Can Deliver Alcohol to Customers’ Homes Florida Statutes Section 561.57 specifically authorizes licensed retailers to engage third parties to make deliveries to customers’ homes. Companies like Drizly, Shipt, and Minibar contract with Florida retailers to deliver alcoholic products. In these cases, the retailer is treated as having sold the products directly to the customer, and the deliverer acts as an agent of the retailer. Section 561.57 requires a contract to exist between the licensed retailer and the delivery service. Personal Shopping Services Contracted by Customers Can Probably Deliver Alcohol to Customers’ Homes Personal shopping services, like Instacart, claim to operate differently than retailer delivery services. Whereas retailer delivery services operate as an agent for the retailer, personal shopping services operate as an agent for the customer. The experience of getting deliveries through a retail delivery service versus a personal shopping service may be the same, but there is a legal distinction that matters. While Florida Statutes Section 561.57 expressly permits retailers to engage third-party deliverers, it does not expressly authorize personal shopping services. It appears that nothing in the Florida Beverage Laws directly addresses personal shopping services, whether it is permitted or prohibited. The Florida Statutes do prohibit the transportation of alcoholic beverages in quantities of more than 12 bottles, and it is unclear how this might apply to personal shopping services. Florida Statutes Section 562.07 provides a short list of who may transport alcohol in quantities of more than 12 bottles, including “individuals who possess such beverages not for resale within the state.” Arguably, this should cover a personal shopper, who is not intending to resell the products, but rather deliver products that have been remotely purchased to the customer, as the customer’s agent. Still, there legal situation for personal shopping services is less clear than it is for retailer delivery services. Do you have questions about home delivery of alcohol in Florida? Contact us at contact@brewerlong.com to schedule a consultation. Because we’re attorneys: This blog post is provided on an “as is” and “as available” basis as of the date of publication. 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 […]

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Breweries | Read Time: 2 minutes

Anxious About Federal Excise Taxes…Again

The end of the federal Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act (CBMTRA) on December 31, 2020 would mean big excise tax increases for small manufacturers. What is the CBMTRA and Where is It Going? The CBMTRA was passed along with the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017. The federal law made changes to the US Tax Code which resulted in lower federal excise taxes (FET) on beer, wine and distilled spirits. Small Domestic Brewers (those that make less than 2 million barrels per year) saw their FET rate go from $18 per barrel to $3.50 per barrel. FET rates on distilled spirits were reduced from $13.34 per proof gallon to $2.70 per proof gallon for the first 100,000 proof gallons produced by any distillery in a calendar year, regardless of size. The CBMTRA also reduced FET rates for mead and wine having less than 8.5% alcohol by volume (ABV) from $1.07 per wine gallon to $0.07 per wine gallon. The CBMTRA was originally effective for only 2018 and 2019. One December 20, 2019, with the end just 11 days away, the CBMTRA was extended for one additional year. The CBMTRA is now scheduled to sunset on December 31, 2020. The Push to Make CBMTRA Permanent If CBMTRA is allowed to sunset at the end of 2020, FET rates will return to their 2016 levels. Beverage manufacturers would welcome another one-year extension, but that just prolongs the suspense. What they really want is permanence. National manufacturers’ associations–including the Brewers Association, the Wine Institute, and the American Craft Spirits Association–are all pushing to make CBMTRA permanent. A new Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act (S. 362/H.R. 1175), if passed, would make the FET rate cuts permanent. The act is co-sponsored by 346 U.S. Representatives and 74 Senators, reflecting broad support from Republicans and Democrats. Do you have questions about excise taxes on alcoholic beverages? Contact us at contact@brewerlong.com to schedule a 15-minute introductory call at no charge. Because we’re attorneys: This blog post is provided on an “as is” and “as available” basis as of the date of publication. 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.

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Breweries | Read Time: 4 minutes

Common Zoning Challenges for Florida Beverage Manufacturers

One of the greatest challenges to opening or expanding an alcoholic manufacturing plant–whether brewery, winery, or distillery–is complying with local zoning ordinances. While many Florida communities have enacted specific craft beverage ordinances, most have not. As a result, getting that all-important zoning approval for a new or amended alcohol manufacturing or retail license can pose a time and cost burden, or worse, stop an applicant dead in its tracks. We’ve discussed zoning before: Brewers’ Law 101: Local Zoning Approval and Before Choosing a Beverage Manufacturing Location: 5 Questions. In this post, we focus on common zoning challenges faced by Florida beverage manufacturers. Manufacturing in a Commercial Zone; Retail in an Industrial Zone The business model for a Florida craft beverage manufacturer typically involves two “uses” sitting side-by-side: a manufacturing plant and a retail store. The combination of product manufacturing and on-premises sales to retail customers is unique in the commercial products industry. This uniqueness is often reflected in municipal zoning codes. The zoning codes of many Florida communities (whether towns, cities, or counties) have distinct zones for “industrial uses” and “commercial uses.” Heavy Industry and Light Industry zones are designated for manufacturing. In some cases, retail store fronts are prohibited in Industrial zones (or if not prohibited outright, subject to conditional use, as discussed below). Likewise, Commercial ones are often designated for retail stores, restaurants and bars. Zoning ordinances also prohibit “manufacturing” activities from taking place in a Commercial zone. While alcoholic beverage “manufacturing” can look like very different things–a small, neighborhood brewpub with a 1 barrel brewhouse versus a large, industrial manufacturing and canning production plant–some zoning ordinances do not recognize the difference. Unless a community’s zoning process allows some flexibility, a typical manufacturing and retail model might not work in these communities. Schools and Churches Separation Requirements Florida law and many local zoning ordinances prohibit the sale of alcoholic beverages within a certain distance of churches and schools. At a minimum, Florida law requires that alcoholic beverage retailers (including taprooms, tasting rooms, and distillery gift shops) cannot be located within 500 feet of a public or private elementary school, middle school, or secondary school, unless local ordinances provide otherwise. The zoning ordinances of many Florida communities are often more restrictive than Florida law. It is typical for local ordinances to require at least 1,000 feet of separation between a alcoholic beverage retailer and a school, as well as churches and other places of public worship. Some communities also put restrictions on how close an alcoholic beverage retailer can locate near to residential areas generally. What makes compliance with schools and churches separation requirements more difficult is that fact that ordinances often define “schools”, “churches” and “separation” differently. For some communities, “schools” includes not only public and private schools, but also daycares, after-school care, and other educational facilities. “Churches” may or may not include storefront churches located in commercial centers not designated as religious use. The manner of measuring the separation between the retailer and the school or church differs among communities. For some, separation is measured from property-edge to property-edge in a straight line. For others, the distance of separation is measured from doorstep to doorstep as a pedestrian would travel while obeying roadway laws. Time-Consuming and Costly Conditional Use Procedures Many Florida communities provide some level of flexibility in compliance with otherwise rigid zoning ordinance in the form of a conditional use procedure. Generally, conditional use procedures allow an applicant to request that the local government grant an exception to allow an activity in a zone that would not otherwise be permitted (such as, retail in an Industrial zone or manufacturing in a Commercial zone) or to allow retail alcohol sales to be closer to a school, church, or neighborhood than would be allowed. Condition use procedures, however, can be costly and time consuming. In many cases, the applicant is required to pay a government fee and pay for a professionally prepared land survey. Conditional use procedures often require the application to be consider at one or more community board hearings, which are usually schedule several months in advance. It is often a requirement that the applicant, at its own expense, mail notices to residents and property owners within the area that is to be affected by the non-conforming use. Conditional use is not guaranteed. After months of time and the expenses of complying with the conditional use procedures, the applicant’s request to use a certain location for a beverage manufacturing and retail space might be denied. In cases where the applicant’s request is granted, there might be conditions or limitations imposed that impact the applicant’s business expectations, such as limits on hours of operation, limits on production capacity, or prohibitions against distribution (all are common). Do you have questions about complying with local zoning requirements in Florida? Contact us at contact@brewerlong.com to schedule a 15-minute introductory call at no charge. Because we’re attorneys: This blog post is provided on an “as is” and “as available” basis as of the date of publication. 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.

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Distribution | Read Time: 3 minutes

Florida Farm Wineries: Operating in All Three Tiers

Florida’s Three Tier System is a source of constant frustration for most of Florida’s alcoholic beverage and manufacturers. Brewers, distilleries, and (most) wineries are prohibited from distributing their own products to retail vendors. Florida breweries and distilleries are prohibited from selling their products to online customers. Florida distilleries can have gift shops, but they are prohibited from selling beverages to customers for consumption on premises. Unlike other alcoholic beverage industry members, Florida Farm Wineries are allowed to operate in all three tiers. Florida Farm Wineries Can Do It All Florida Farm Wineries are uniquely allowed to hold a Florida manufacturing license and a distribution license. Florida Statutes Section 561.24 generally prohibits distilleries and wineries from being licensed as a distributor in Florida. However, the statute specifically provides: “This section does not apply to any winery qualifying as a certified Florida Farm Winery under s. 599.004.” Florida Farm Wineries, like all wineries in Florida, are authorized to have up to three retail license for tasting rooms that are contiguous to the manufacturing premises. Tasting rooms can make sales of alcoholic beverages (beer, wine, and distilled spirits) for consumption on premises and/or carryout, depending on the vendor license. Whether or not it has a licensed tasting room, a Florida Farm Winery may be issued a permit allowing it to conduct tasting and sales of its wine at Florida fairs, trade shows, expositions, and festivals. Florida Farm Wineries, like all wineries in Florida, may also make online sales and ship their products to retail customers in Washington D.C. and 47 other states. See How to Build a Direct-to-Consumer Florida Beverage Company. Requirements to be a Florida Farm Winery To qualify under the Florida Farm Winery Program, a winery must meet certain requirements: Produce or sell less than 250,000 gallons of wine annually, 60% or more of which is made from state agricultural products; Maintain at least 5 acres of owned or managed land in Florida which produces the grapes or other product used in producing wine; Be open to the public for tours, tastings, and sales at least 30 hours each week; and File the annual application and pay the annual registration fee of $100. The Florida Farm Winery Program is not only available to wineries making grape wine. The program is equally available to cideries, meadaries, and makers of wine from fresh fruit, berries, or other agricultural products. In each case, however, at least 60% of the wine must come from Florida agricultural products. Florida wineries that meet the requirements of the Florida Farm Winery Program must apply for certification by the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. Do you have questions about operating as a Florida Farm Winery? Contact us at contact@brewerlong.com to schedule a 15-minute introductory call at no charge. Because we’re attorneys: This blog post is provided on an “as is” and “as available” basis as of the date of publication. 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.

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Retail | Read Time: 4 minutes

Florida-Based E-Commerce Wine Business: 3 Options

E-commerce allows entrepreneurs to build direct-to-consumer (DtC) retail businesses and manage them from anywhere. Whether selling snow skis or water skis (or both), geography is no obstacle for a good retail website and strong brands. When it comes to the heavily regulated alcoholic beverage industry, however, it’s not so simple (see How to Build a Direct-to-Consumer Florida Beverage Company). Here are three options for Florida-based businesses to sell more than just Florida wine to retail customers around the country. Option 1: White Labels White labeling (also called custom crush) is the easiest way for a wine retailer to develop proprietary wine labels without getting involved in making, bottling, or shipping the wine. In this arrangement, a white label customer enters a contractual arrangement with a winery. The winery will make the wine, bottle it, and use the white label customer’s name and label designs. The winery holds the required federal and state wine making licenses and pays federal and state excise taxes. By working with a California-based winery, a white label customer can hold a California off-sale retail license that allows the customer to sell and ship its white labeled wine directly to customers in California and the 14 other states that allow retail DtC wine sales, including Florida (separate licenses might be required for those states). Pros Does not require expertise or investment in winemaking or bottling No requirement to have a physical location Cons Entirely reliant on the white label winemaker for making, bottling, and shipping wine Limited to working with California white label winemakers No ability to sell to distributors or other retailers Limited to sales in 14 states currently Option 2: Negociant Winemaking Negociant winemaking describes a range of activities in which the winemaker uses grapes, juice, or finished wine that is produced by another winemaker. A Florida-based winery can import grapes or juice from anywhere in the world to make wine from start to finish. Alternatively, a Florida-based winery can import wine in bulk from US wineries to be blended, bottled and aged on site. It is even possible for a Florida-based winery to purchase wine “shiners”–bottled wine that is shipped to a second winery without the label attached. In each of these cases, the Florida-based negociant winery is considered as having completed the wine, which is significant. Because of the US Supreme Court’s decision in Granholm v. Heald, the Florida winery is allowed to sell and ship that product to retail customers in 48 states, as long as it has a Florida retail license and complies with retail regulations in receiving states. Pros: Allowed to sell to retail customers in almost every state Allowed to sell to distributors in Florida Greater control over the winemaking and bottling process Can work with different suppliers of grapes, juice, bulk wine, or shiners Cons: Must have a facility in Florida that is licensed as a winery and retailer Must account for and pay federal and state excise taxes Option 3: Alternating Proprietorship Alternating proprietorship is like timeshare for alcoholic beverage manufacturing. In this arrangement, a host winery agrees to share its winery premises with a tenant winery. A Florida-based tenant winery can enter an alternating proprietorship arrangement with a winery located somewhere outside of Florida. The tenant winery would have its own federal and state license for operation of the host’s winery facilities and equipment. The tenant and host would then work out times and arrangements for the tenant to make and bottle wine in the host’s facilities. The tenant could then either sell its wine to distributors or to retail customers in 48 states (assuming proper state licensing). If a Florida-based tenant winery also had a licensed winery premises in Florida, it could transfer the wine from the host winery’s facilities to Florida. The Florida winery could then finish and/or bottle the wine before shipping it out to retail customers. A Florida-based winery premises could also engage in the negociant winemaking activities described above. Pros: Allowed to sell to retail customers in almost every state Allowed to sell to distributors in Florida Complete control over the winemaking and bottling process Can work with different suppliers of grapes, juice, bulk wine, or shiners Cons: Relationship with the host winery might be difficult to manage Required to have own federal and state licenses for host winery’s facilities Must account for and pay federal and state excise taxes Do you have questions about building a Florida-based ecommerce wine business? Contact us at contact@brewerlong.com to schedule a 15-minute introductory call at no charge. Because we’re attorneys: This blog post is provided on an “as is” and “as available” basis as of the date of publication. 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.

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Breweries | Read Time: 3 minutes

How to Build a Direct-to-Consumer Florida Beverage Company

DtC Sales of Alcohol are Promising but Hard to Manage Popularity of the Direct-to-Consumer (DtC) sales model is at an all-time high, in the alcoholic beverage industry and many others. The DtC model allows manufacturers and brand owners to sell (and often deliver) directly to consumers, bypassing traditional distribution and retail sales channels. Particularly in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, many entrepreneurs are hoping to launch the next “Amazon of __________.” This is especially true for alcoholic beverage companies. Unfortunately, the DtC model is especially hard to employ in the alcoholic beverage industry because every US state and territory has its own laws and regulations about alcohol sales. Well-known alcohol delivery platforms–like Drizly, Thirstie, and Minibar–avoid state regulation entirely by making no sales at all and simply connecting customers with existing retailers in their own state. State Regulations Make DtC Sales Complicated and Expensive “Where can I sell and delivery my alcoholic product?” is a surprisingly difficult question to answer. The answer depends on at least four factors: Are you the product manufacturer? How was the alcohol in the product produced? Where are you selling from? Where are you selling to? At the time this blog post, DtC sales of alcohol are allowed in the following states: Wineries and other manufacturers of wine-based products can sell and deliver products to Washington D.C. and 47 US states (all except Alabama, Mississippi, and Utah). Breweries can sell and delivery products to D.C. and 9 states (Kentucky, Missouri, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Ohio, Oregon, Vermont, and Virginia). Distilleries can sell and deliver products to D.C. and 10 states (Alaska, Arizona, Connecticut, Hawaii, Kentucky, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Dakota, and Rhode Island). Alcoholic beverage retailers can sell and deliver one or more types of alcoholic products to D.C. and 15 states (Alaska, California, Connecticut, Florida, Louisiana, Idaho, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oregon, West Virginia, Virginia, and Wyoming). In almost all cases, an alcoholic beverage seller is required to have a license in its home state and in each state in which deliveries are made. For alcoholic beverage manufacturers, a federal permit is also required. Maintaining number state licenses, each with its own fees, can be time consuming and expensive. Wine-Based Products Work Best for DtC Sales In the confusing network of state-by-state regulations, the best option for a Florida-based DtC alcoholic beverage business is to manufacture and sell products that are considered to be wine. Wine-based products include not only grape wine, but also cider, perry (pear wine), fruit wine, mead (honey wine), and certain low-alcohol appertifs. Products that derive their alcoholic content from “Other than Standard Orange Wine“, in particular, can be made to simulate vodka or other mixed drinks. Favorable treatment of wine-based products results from the US Supreme Court’s ruling in Granholm v. Heald, a 2005 case in which the Court invalidated state laws that allowed local wineries to sell and deliver products to state residents but prohibited out-of-state wineries doing the same. As a result of the Granholm decision, any state that wishes to allow its own wineries to deliver products to in-state customers must allow wine manufacturers in other states to do the same. It is for this reason that all but three states–Alabama, Mississippi, and Utah–all some level of DtC sale and deliver of wine-based products. Do you have questions about building a DtC sales alcoholic beverage company? Contact us at contact@brewerlong.com to schedule a 15-minute introductory call at no charge. Because we’re attorneys: This blog post is provided on an “as is” and “as available” basis as of the date of publication. 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.

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