Customers that enjoy Florida’s craft liquor are banned from buying more than two bottles of each product at a time. But that could soon change. According to the Orlando Sentinel, however, a bill introduced to the state Senate in December to liberate the craft liquor industry in Florida.
The proposed bill would eliminate several roadblocks for distillers. First, craft distillers are banned from selling more than two bottles of product directly to consumers. The bill would remove that ban completely. Second, producers currently cannot set up off-site salesroom limiting their ability to directly reach customers. The bill would instead allow distillers to set up these off-site salesrooms. Finally, craft distillers currently face hefty state sales taxes if they produce more than 75,000 gallons of liquor per year. The bill would instead allow distillers to produce up to 250,000 gallons per year before these hefty taxes kick in.
“I just don’t think the government should dictate to a small business how much product they can sell from their one location,” said State Sen. Greg Steube, who is sponsoring the bill.
Previous versions of Steube’s bill failed to gain traction during last year’s legislative session. But if history is any lesson, the bill may eventually get passed. It took a five-year battle for the legislature to pass a bill to allow craft beer producers to sell 64 ounce growlers—a simple container. Even in spite of these current challenges, Florida’s alcohol industry continues to grow. In the past four years the number of distillers in the state has grown from nine to 32. And this past fall, Copper Bottom Craft Distillery became the first craft liquor maker to open in Volusia County.
Passing and enacting the proposed bill would allow increased competition and variety in the marketplace. The bill would also make it easier for small businesses, just like Copper Bottom Craft Distillery, to get their product to consumers.