Alcohol

Florida Could Repeal Nonsensical Rule Limiting Sales By Small Distilleries

Big liquor makers and distributors convinced the legislature to impose the limits in 2013 to prevent competition from small distillers.

|

Brendan Fitterer/ZUMA Press/Newscom

Small-scale manufacturers of gin, rum, whiskey, and other spirits could soon be freed from a nonsensical Florida law limiting how many sales they are allowed to make in a single year.

Craft distillers, liquor makers that produce less than 75,000 gallon of booze per year, in Florida currently are prohibited from selling more than four bottles of liquor to a single customer within the same calendar year—and no more than two bottles to the same customer at once. To comply with arbitrary and restrictive state law, distillers have to record their customers' names and driver's license numbers in a registry that can be reviewed by state officials.

The bill to repeal the sales limit would also remove several other roadblocks that keep Florida's small distillers from being able to grow their market share. The bill would allow distillers to sell their product off-site without going through a distributor (that's currently illegal, all sales must take place at same location where the liquor is made), and would raise the threshold when higher state tax rates apply to distillers to 250,000 gallons annually from the current level of 75,000 gallons.

"I just don't think the government should dictate to a small business how much product they can sell from their one location," state Rep. Greg Stuebe (R-Sarasota), who is sponsoring the bill, told the Orlando Sentinel. Stuebe is serving up legislative cocktails of common sense in the Sunshine State—last week, we reported on his proposed bill to stop local governments from banning Airbnb and other homesharing services.

The bill could be another, small, step in the right direction for Florida, which has been slowly liberalizing its alcohol laws in recent year. Until 2013, for example, it was illegal for craft distillers to sell alcohol directly to the public at all. Instead, they had go through a distributor. That year, state lawmakers changed the rules to let distillers sell their products directly to consumers, but implemented the artificial two-bottles-per-customer limit. The original bill had called for an annual limit of 24 bottles per customer—which, okay, it's still an artificial limit but at least one that's a little more reasonable—but that was too high for wholesalers and distributors that disliked the idea of more competition.

Likewise, it wasn't until 2015 that Florida allowed breweries to sell their own products on-location and legalized the sale of 64-ounce "growlers."

Craft distillers in Florida also have to pay more than $4,000 in annual licensing fees, some of the highest such fees in the country.

Despite the alcohol industry's best efforts to bottle up Florida's craft distillers, their numbers are on the rise. The Institute for Justice reports that there are now 32 small distillers in Florida, up from just nine in 2013.

NEXT: Finally: The Case Against Hamilton

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. Florida Could Repeal Nonsensical Rule Limiting Sales By Small Distilleries

    Big liquor makers and distributors convinced the legislature to impose the limits in 2013 to prevent competition from small distillers.

    “Nonsensical” rule? The way that subhed reads, it makes perfect sense to me. What part of rent-seeking don’t you understand?

    1. Start working at home with Google! It’s by-far the best job I’ve had. Last Wednesday I got a brand new BMW since getting a check for $6474 this – 4 weeks past. I began this 8-months ago and immediately was bringing home at least $77 per hour. I work through this link,

      go? to tech tab for work detail,,,,,,, http://www.foxnews20.com

  2. Wife-swappin’ cocaine-sniffin’ revenuers got too much time on their hands, ask me. Sons a bitches.

  3. From our first King, Washington, until today, it’s just cronyism all the way down. Some things never change.

  4. Do any of you want a small distillery within 100 yards of your children’s playgrounds?

    1. Small distilleries should be put on some sort of list…

      1. What we should do is just ban children. Reasoning behind that being that children seem to be the main reason everything else is banned. So if we just ban children, nothing else needs banned, right?

        1. All preggos mandatory muster at the abortuary.

        2. All children are brought up in groups by the state. We can even separate them into groups. Some will be “alphas”, some will be “betas”, and so on. Our political class will continue to come from the “epsilon” class.

          1. Mechanical wombs will free women from the economic, social and physical costs of childbearing. And will no doubt have no other unforseen negative consequences.

    2. I think small children should be working at the distilleries. They’ll learn more there than at school.

    3. Are you kidding me? I’ve got three small children cookin up the corn squeezins in a shed not fifty yards from where I type.

      I can write that here right? This is one of those dark web places where cops can’t see us?

      1. Don’t worry about any district attorneys reading, either.

  5. If they don’t limit sales from small distillers then they won’t be small anymore! Its all logic.

    1. I just need to know if all the distilled products from small distilleries taste exactly like the same nasty IPA as all of their other products?

  6. Think I’ll go spend my Chrismas money this afternoon. Then beer and football with a buddy.

    http://www.microcenter.com/pro…..tical_Gray

    1. Not sure if the upgraded processer and extra ram is worth $100 to me as I’m not a gamer. Decisions, decisions

      http://www.microcenter.com/pro…..-_Fog_Gray

      1. My Xmas gift. Refurbished from Computer Express, $175, haven’t had any problems. It replaced my old 10″ Acer netbook with the blazing fast 1.6ghz Atom processor and the 1mb memory.

        1. Nice. I want to do the 2 in 1 laptop tablet with decent size moniter for my old eyes. Got $200 from mom so I think I’ll use the free money as rationalization to go ahead and get the 8gb ram:) probably don’t need it but what the hell.

  7. You can’t swing a dead cat in Pinellas county without hitting a brewery, now. I look forward to distilleries being the same.

  8. What’s happening, good websites you have got in here
    Kamagra for men

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.