Your Florida Brewery Can Sell Liquor and Fill Growlers, But They Don’t Always Mix (Updated)
It is possible for a Florida brewery to both sell liquor and fill growlers and CrowlersTM, and there are
two four ways to go about it.
Four Options for Filling Growlers and CrowlersTM
The first option is for a Florida brewery (actually, the taproom attached to the brewery) to get a 4COP quota license. This license allows a retail establishment to sell beer, wine, and liquor for consumption on premises or takeout. The number of 4COP quota licenses available in each Florida county is limited, so purchasing a quota license can be very expensive.
The second option requires two different retail licenses: a 4COP-SFS and a 2COP. A 4COP-SFS license allows a retailer to sell beer, wine, and liquor, for consumption on premises only, as long as at least 51% of revenues come from sales of food and non-alcoholic beverages. A 2COP license allows a retailer to sell beer and wine for consumption on premises or carryout, including growlers. Unlike the 4COP quota license, the 4COP-SFS and 2COP licenses can be issued in unlimited number. However, there’s a catch: the 4COP-SFS premises and the 2COP premises must be completely separated.
Update No. 1: Florida’s Cocktails-to-Go Law provides a third option. Retailers with a 4COP-SFS license are now permitted to sell beer in containers that sealed by the restaurant (growlers and CrowlersTM), provided that the sale includes food along with the beer.
Update No. 2: The 2021 major changes to the Florida Craft Distilleries Law allows a brewery that is also licensed as a Florida craft distillery to sell its own distilled, rectified or blended spirits to retail customers. The craft distillery license does not prohibit breweries from continuing to sell growlers and CrowlersTM from their 2COP licensed taprooms.
For Option 2, Separation is the Key
Separating the 4COP-SFS premise and the 2COP premises is necessary to comply with Florida Statutes Section 561.20, which states in part:
A food service establishment granted a special license [that is, a 4COP-SFS license] may not operate as a package store and may not sell intoxicating beverages under such license after the hours of service or consumption of food have elapsed.
Keeping these spaces separate is the key, but what does separate mean in this case? Generally, a customer who starts in the dining area (the 4COP-SFS premises) must exit the building and re-enter the package store area (the 2COP premises). Can there be a door between the dining area and the package store area? Yes, but only if the door is locked or barred so that customers cannot go from one area into the other without first leaving the building.
Keeping the dining area and the package store area separate has one other implications: the beer that is sold in both locations must be kept separate as well (at least during business hours). Beer to be sold in the package store area must be stored in the package store. For canned or bottled beer, this could be in a small cooler. Filling growlers and CrowlersTM in the package store area means that a draft system must be situated in the package store. Growlers and CrowlersTM cannot be filled in the dining room and then taken to the package store when purchased by a customer. Likewise, a customer cannot order a six-pack or a growler from the package store. However, there is a way to allow the people and the beer to move freely: invest in a 4COP quota license.
Before applying for Florida beverage related licenses, its critically important to understand what you can and cannot do with each license, and how they affect each other. We can help at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Because we’re attorneys: Disclaimer. Post updated November 20, 2022.