Florida Craft Distilleries are faced with a stiff legal challenge when it comes to attracting customers to their gift shops: they can’t sell their spirits by the glass. Craft distilleries can only sell bottled products and only in limited quantities (6 bottles per brand per visit, under current Florida law).
Charge for Customer Enrichment and Non-Spirit Products
While Florida craft distilleries are not permitted to charge for spirituous drinks, they are allowed to sell other products and services. Distilleries can charge for:
- Distillery tours
- Distilling demonstrations
- Spiritous beverage appreciation classes
- Branded glassware and related products
- Bottled or canned sodas, juices, and water
Craft distilleries in Florida are also permitted to provide tasting samples of their products. While there are no specific limits on the size of the sample or the number of samples provided, general laws still apply. For instance, a Florida craft distillery cannot give alcoholic beverages to a person under the age of 21 or to a person known to be a habitual drunkard.
Providing tasting samples of a Florida craft distillery’s spirituous products goes hand-in-hand with sales of customer enrichment activities, branded glassware, and the like. For instance, a certain number of tasting samples might be included on the distillery tour, and the appreciation classes might include a flight of the distillery’s spirits. A customer who purchases a branded shot glass may have the option to “try it out” with the spirit of his or her choosing.
Keep the Spirituous Samples Free
Whatever else a Florida craft distillery may offer for sale to its customers, the tasting sample must be free and it must be available to anyone over the age 21. No purchase necessary. Compliance with current Florida law means that it must be made clear to customers that paying for the tour, class, or shot glass is not a requirement of getting the tasting sample. Does this mean that a number of freeloaders will want to skip paying for the tour or the class and just get to the samples? Perhaps. That’s the risk a Florida craft distillery must be willing to take if it chooses to provide tasting samples at all.
Because the tasting samples are free, the Florida craft distillery can decide how many its willing to provide. Perhaps there is a cap of 4 shots per customer, whether or not he or she is participating in a tour or class or buys a glass. Florida craft distillery should post a sign within the gift shop stating that a specific number of tasting samples are provided free of charge to adults who are not visibly intoxicated.
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