Does your business hold a license to sell beer and/or wine to the public for on-premises consumption? If so, you should know that the Division of Alcoholic Beverages and Tobacco (“ABT”), of the Department of Business and Professional Regulation (“DBPR”), regulates the sales and service of alcoholic beverages and tobacco products in Florida. ABT’s Bureau of Law Enforcement is an accredited state law enforcement agency which periodically sends agents to inspect your place of business.
To ensure that your business complies with all applicable rules and regulations and to avoid the risk of hefty fines, suspension, license revocation, and closure of your business, you need to know and comply with the following rules:
- All vendors’ licenses must be displayed in conspicuous places on the licensed premises. Section 561.23, F.S.
- The business name of the licensed premises must match the name on the alcoholic beverage license. Section 561.33(2), F.S.
- This statute requires that if a licensee wishes to change the name of his or her place of business then he or she must give ABT 30 days’ written notice and pay a $10.00 fee.
- The physical address of the licensed premises must match the location address on the alcoholic beverage license. Section 561.33(1) & 562.06, F.S.
- This statute requires that a licensee who wants to move his/her business to a new location and sell alcohol at that new location to submit a written application to ABT. If the application is approved, ABT will issue a license for the new location as soon as it receives the $35.00 fee.
- The name of the licensee must be on all required or other licenses, permits, and certificates to include licensure with the Department of Revenue, any Occupational licensure, Hotels and Restaurants licensure, and Lottery Retail licensure. Section 561.17(1), F.S.
- If the licensee is a corporation or limited liability corporation, any change of officers or managing members must be disclosed to ABT. Section 561.17(3), F.S.
- A transfer of 10% of any financial interest, a change of executive officers or directors, or a divestiture or resignation of such interests or positions must first be expressly approved by ABT unless the new party is exempt under Section 561.17(1), F.S.
- The physical layout of the licensed business must match the sketch submitted with the alcoholic beverage license application. Section 562.06, F.S.
- You may not employ any person under 18 years of age. Section 562.13(1), F.S.
- You may not employ as a manager, a person in charge, or a bartender any person, who in the past five years has (1) been convicted of a beverage law offense; (2) been convicted of soliciting for prostitution, pandering letting premises for prostitution, keeping a disorderly place, or any felony violation of Chapter 893, F.S., or the controlled substances act of any other state or the federal government; or (3) been convicted of any felony in this state, any other state, or the United States. Section 562.13(3)(a), F.S.
- Vendors may not purchase or acquire in any manner for the purpose of resale any alcoholic beverages from any person not licensed as a vendor, manufacturer, bottler, or distributor under the Beverage Law. Section 561.14(3), F.S.
- Draft beer taps or spigots must display on the handle in plain view of the consuming public the name of the beer currently being served. Section 563.03, F.S.
- All bottles must appear free of refilling and misrepresentation. Section 562.061, F.S.
- All invoices for alcoholic beverages must be maintained for a period of three years and made available to the inspector upon request. Section 561.55(3)(b), F.S.
- The licensed premises must be in compliance with the Florida Clean Indoor Air Act.
For a free, no obligation consultation concerning any allegation of beverage law violation, contact Kevin B. Taylor at Jeffrey S. Howell, P.A., attorneys at law.
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