How to Get a Liquor License in Florida

0 330

Getting a liquor license is crucial to owning a successful bar or restaurant in the state of Florida. It opens up additional revenue streams and enhances the atmosphere for potential customers.

The process of getting a liquor license in Florida is tailored to your specific business needs, so that means, as a business owner, you’ll need to pay close attention throughout the application process so you know you’re getting the right thing.

As an independent insurance agency, our goal is to help our clients protect their business as best we can. The following post is meant as a beginner’s guide for restaurant owners looking to obtain a liquor license and should not be taken as legal or expert advice.

Read on for more details on obtaining a liquor license in Florida.

What Type of Liquor License Do You Need?

The type of liquor license you need is determined by several factors, the first being the type of establishment you’re operating.

Florida offers specific liquor licenses for various establishments, such as bars, restaurants, hotels, clubs, caterers, and special events, and each establishment has different requirements, so it’s essential to understand which category you fall under before proceeding.

The types of alcohol you plan to sell also play a part in your liquor license requirements. Florida has different licenses for businesses that sell beer and wine only vs. those that sell a full range of alcoholic beverages, including liquor.

Furthermore, there are separate licenses for businesses that sell the alcohol for consumption on-site (such as a bar or restaurant) vs. those selling alcohol for consumption off-site (like a grocery or convenience store).

You may also obtain a full liquor license, which permits the sale of beer, wine, and liquor and can also be broken down into consumption on-site or off. Special event liquor licenses meanwhile are temporary and are granted for specific events, like festivals or fundraisers where alcohol will be sold.

An SRX, or Special Restaurant License, is for a business that can fit at least 150 people and derives more than half of its revenue from non-alcohol sales.

Zoning laws and regulations can also affect the type of liquor license you need.

Ultimately, knowing what liquor license you need comes down to what types of alcohol and how much of it you intend to sell. This is essential because obtaining the wrong liquor license could result in rejection, meaning more paperwork, and even penalties and fines.

How to Apply for a Liquor License in Florida

Once you’ve determined what kind of liquor license is appropriate for your business, it’s time to do the work of formally applying for the license.

It will save you lots of time and headaches if you’re fully prepared before submitting your application including understanding your eligibility requirements, having all the necessary documents on hand, and more.

Verify Your Eligibility Requirements

The eligibility criteria include the applicant being at least 21 years old and a US citizen or permanent resident. The applicant also should not have disqualifying criminal convictions or violations of Florida liquor laws.

Gather the Required Documentation

Have all the necessary paperwork and documentation for your liquor license application ready before filing. This includes:

Business registration documents: Proof of your registered business entity, such as articles of incorporation or organization.
Floor plan of the establishment
Proof of property ownership or lease agreement
Food service license (if applicable): If your establishment serves food, you may also need to provide a valid food service license.

Complete Your Application Forms

Visit the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation’s Division of Alcoholic Beverages and Tobacco (DABT) website for the appropriate application forms, and carefully read the instructions and provide accurate, detailed information.

Ensure you include all required documentation and payment with your application

The fees for a liquor license vary based on the type of license you’re applying for, and these fees are non-refundable so be sure you’re using the right forms. If at any point during the application process you’re confused about which license you need or whether you have all the required documentation, seek legal advice on how to proceed.

Finally, when you do submit your application, it’s always a smart idea to keep a copy for your records.

Prepare for an Inspection

After submitting your application, the DABT may schedule an inspection of your establishment to ensure compliance with Florida’s liquor laws and regulations. Make sure you are adhering to all relevant requirements, such as proper signage and storage of alcoholic beverages.

If your application is approved and you pass the inspection, the DABT will issue your liquor license, and then you can legally sell alcohol at your establishment!

Completed applications must be processed within 90 days, but yours might be processed more quickly. After submitting your application (or after you’ve received an inspection), you should be prepared to address any potential obstacles that may arise, such as local zoning restrictions or community objections.

What Are the Top Reasons a Liquor License Is Denied in Florida?

Some of the most common reasons a liquor license may be denied are user error during the application process.

You might not meet the full eligibility requirements or you might’ve inadvertently submitted an incomplete application. That’s why preparation and expert counsel is of the utmost importance because you don’t want to pay to apply only to learn that you forgot one form and have to start all over.

Be sure to check your business’ zoning laws before submitting a liquor license application because if you are in an area that prohibits or restricts the sale of alcohol, your application is almost certainly going to be denied.

Local residents could protest your business getting a liquor license because they fear it could bring unwanted traffic or noise to the neighborhood. In this case, community outreach is crucial. As a business owner, you’ll want to ease their concerns and show your community how your establishment will only enrich the area.

Failing your inspection is another reason many liquor licenses get denied. Ensure your establishment has the proper signage, security, and storage of alcoholic beverages and that all employees are properly trained to sell alcohol.

Finally, previous liquor law violations and insufficient financial records are more issues that could hold up your approval.

Fortunately, these are all things you can handle before submitting your application or scheduling an inspection. Proper preparation is key.

How to Maintain Your Liquor License in Florida

Once you’ve obtained your liquor license, the most important thing is keeping it. That means following all Florida laws and regulations regarding alcohol sales, training your employees properly, renewing your license on time, adhering to zoning laws, and reporting any changes at your establishment to the DABT.

Maintaining your records and keeping a clean and safe work environment are also key to ensuring the health of your business.

This includes having the proper restaurant insurance and liquor liability insurance to protect your business, your staff, and your patrons as well.

At Harry Levine Insurance, we’re a small business as well, so we know the challenges other business owners face when it comes to complying with regulations and running a successful business. That’s why we’re here to help in keeping your business safe when it comes to unforeseen circumstances.

Contact us today to sort out your business insurance needs.

The post How to Get a Liquor License in Florida appeared first on Harry Levine Insurance.

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.