3 Questions To Ask Before Applying For A Liquor License In Florida

Law Blog

Florida business owners that wish to obtain a liquor license may find themselves sorting through the various requirements, scratching their heads. If it doesn't seem straightforward enough, you may benefit from consulting with an attorney who can advise you on what to do. But before you get started with the process of applying for a liquor license, here are three main questions you should ask.

What type of license do you need?

If you're a business owner applying for a first-time liquor license, you need to understand the different types that are available from the Florida DABT (Division of Alcoholic Beverages and Tobacco) before filling out the paperwork. Following are just a few:

  1. 2COP License (Consumption on Premises). This is the most common type used for small restaurants, delis, cafes, and sandwich shops. With this, you can sell beer and wine for customers to drink on the premises. Additionally, if municipal ordinances allow it, you can sell packaged wine and beer in sealed containers. The DABT doesn't place any restrictions on how many 2COP licenses are issued.
  2. 2APS (Alcohol Package Sales) License. If you have a gas station, convenience store, or a grocery store, and you wish to sell beer and wine for consumption off the property, you'll want to apply for a 2APS license.
  3. 4COP-SRX (Consumption on Premises with Special Requirements) License. A little more extensive than the above, this type of license is sought out for certain restaurant owners who would like to sell beer, wine, and spirits for on-premises consumption. In order to qualify, your restaurant must be a certain size with minimum seating, and more than half of your revenue must come from food sales.
  4. Quota 4COP License. Bars, taverns, and clubs that wish to primarily sell beer, wine, and spirits will need to apply for a Quota 4COP license. Alcohol can either be consumed on the property or sold in sealed containers. The main difference between this type of license and the others is that licenses are limited. Applicants are approved through a lottery, or they can purchase their license from an existing holder.

This is not a comprehensive list of all the license types, just the more common ones. If you're a golf club owner, a caterer, or even a priest wishing to obtain a wine permit for a sacramental event, you will need to apply for a different license altogether.

How much will it cost?

This seems to be the million-dollar question, but you do need some idea of what it will cost to obtain your license. Florida is unique in that liquor license prices depend not only on the license type but the county size as well. So if you own a convenience store and wish to apply for a 2APS license, the starting cost is $84 and goes up to $196.

What if you want a quota license?

Quota licenses are advantageous since they allow holders to sell all types of alcohol for both on- and off-premises drinking. But these licenses can be a bit pricier, depending on how you go about obtaining one.

If you purchase from an existing holder, the cost will depend on the county population to some extent, but it's also determined by supply and demand. The state has nothing to do with determining the price, and many business owners get help from a broker to find private sellers.

If you want to obtain a quota license through the lottery, there's currently an entry fee of $100, and that's non-refundable. Keep in mind that you're not guaranteed to "win" the lottery. But if you do win, you'll also have to make a one-time investment of $10,750 and pay an annual fee that varies based on the county.

It seems like a steep price to pay, but that money goes toward programs that help to educate people on and prevent alcohol and drug abuse.

Click here for more information on liquor licensing.


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