Understanding Florida’s Alcoholic Beverage Product Sample Rules

Alcoholic beverage suppliers in Florida–whether manufacturers, importers, or broker-sales agents–are limited in the ways that they can get their products into the market. Generally, suppliers must sell their products to licensed distributors, and distributors must sell their products to licensed retail vendors. So how do suppliers introduce new alcoholic beverage products to Florida retail vendors? One way is to work with a licensed distributor to deliver product samples to vendors.

Only Distributors are Authorized to Deliver Product Samples

Licensed distributors are specifically authorized to deliver alcoholic product samples to Florida retail vendors. The Division of Alcoholic Beverages and Tobacco (ABT) has created a rule–Rule 61-1.01024 of the Florida Administrative Code–providing restrictions and instructions on how distributors provide samples for distilled spirit, wine, and beer products.

Limitations on Who Can Receive Product Samples and How Much

Florida distributors are allowed to offer samples of alcoholic beverages to vendors under certain conditions. Distributors are prohibited from providing samples for a particular product brand to a vendor that purchased that brand within the past twelve months. However, in cases where ownership of either the distributor or the vendor changes to a new entity, the distributor can provide new samples to the vendor.

There are limitations set on the quantity of samples that can be provided. For beer and malt beverages, the limit is set at 3 gallons per brand per licensed premises. Wine and distilled spirit product samples should not exceed 3 liters per brand per licensed premises. However, if a specific product size falls outside the quantity limitations outlined in the code, distributors are allowed to provide the next larger size to the vendor.

Recordkeeping Requirements for Product Samples

Distributors must pay Florida excise taxes on product samples. In addition, product samples given to a vendor must be accompanied by an invoice that includes specific information:

  • Distributor’s name and address.
  • Date invoice was prepared.
  • Identification of the product as a sample.
  • Identification of salesman.
  • Name and address and license number of the vendor.
  • Brand name.
  • Number of containers and size of containers used in sampling.

These regulations are in place to ensure responsible distribution and sampling of alcoholic beverages within the state.

Florida’s rules about alcoholic beverage samples are intended to help maintain fair practices and prevents overexposure or preferential treatment of certain brands or entities. By placing limitations on quantities and requiring proper documentation for sample withdrawals, Florida aims to maintain transparency and accountability in the distribution process.

Do you have any questions about Florida’s rules concerning alcoholic beverage product samples? Contact us to schedule a consultation with a beverage attorney.

Because we’re attorneys: Disclaimer. Originally posted 01/06/2024.

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