How to Get a Liquor License in Florida

Published: Jan 15, 2019
liquor license in florida


If you’d like to sell, manufacture or distribute beer, wine or liquor in Florida, you have to undergo a licensing process with the state Department of Business and Professional Regulation. Only after you obtain a liquor license in Florida, you are allowed to legally engage in alcohol sales.

There is a quota for liquor vendors in the state, so the number of retail licenses is fixed. Whenever a county grows with 7,500 residents, a new quota number can be added. In order to obtain a full retail license, you should either buy an existing one from another business or individual, or win a license from the yearly lottery.

Below you can find detailed information about the license types that you can obtain, as well as about getting the required alcohol bond that is one of the main requirements for licensing.

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The Florida Liquor License Types

There are a number of different kinds of licenses for vendors of alcoholic beverages in Florida. Each of them allows conducting various activities involving the sale of alcohol.

The vendor types include:

  • Beer Package Sales (1APS)
  • Beer Consumption on Premises (1COP)
  • Beer and Wine Package Sales (2APS)
  • Beer and Wine Consumption on Premises (2COP)
  • Beer, Wine and Liquor Package Sales (3APS, 3BPS, 3CPS, 3DPS, 3PS)
  • Lodges and other Club License for Beer, Wine and Liquor Consumption on Premises (11C)
  • Special Club License for Beer, Wine and Liquor Consumption on Premises (11CS)
  • American Legion Club License for Beer, Wine and Liquor Consumption on Premises (11AL)
  • Performing Arts License for Beer, Wine and Liquor Consumption on Premises (11PA)
  • Private Golf Clubs Beer, Wine and Liquor Consumption on Premises (11CG)
  • Caterer License for Beer, Wine and Liquor Consumption on Premises (13CT)
  • Race Track Caterer at Jai Alai, Dog and Horse Tracks License for Beer, Wine and Liquor Consumption on Premises by the drink (12RT)
  • Beer, Wine and Liquor Consumption on Premises (4COP, 5COP, 6COP, 7COP, 8COP)

There are also different types of manufacturer and distributor license types:

  • Manufacturer or Bottler of Wine (AMW)
  • Manufacturer of Wines and Cordials (BMWC)
  • Manufacturer/Brewer of Malt Beverages (CMB)
  • Rectifier/Blender of Spirituous Beverages (ERB)
  • Distiller of Spirituous Liquor (DD)
  • Importer to Manufacturers and Distributors (IMPR)
  • Brokers and Sales Agents (BSA)
  • Exporter of Alcoholic Beverages (MEXP)
  • Distributor of Beer and Wine (JDBW)
  • Distributor of Beverages in Dry Counties (EDB)
  • Distributor of Spirituous Beverages (KLD2)
  • Distributor of Spirituous Beverages (KLD)
  • Distributor of Sacramental Wine (JDSW)
  • Malt Beverages; Exclusive Sales Territories

Each license type requires various fees. You can consult the guide on the cost of your Florida liquor license, as well as the full list of license types for further information.

The Licensing Requirements

Once you’ve identified the type of Florida liquor license that best suits your business plans, you should get familiar with the requirements that you have to meet. They vary, since there are significant differences between the license types.

Some common criteria that you will have to fulfill include:

  • Completed application form
  • Certified copies of arrest disposition (if applicable)
  • Fingerprinting
  • Right of Occupancy documents, sketch of premises, and zoning approval (if applicable)
  • Clearance from the Department of Revenue
  • Federal Employer’s Identification Number and Social Security Number (if applicable)
  • Provide a surety bond (for manufacturers and distributors only)

You can find further details in the Instructions for the Application Form 6001. Once you’ve gathered all necessary documents, submit them to the Department of Business and Professional Regulation’s Division of Alcoholic Beverages and Tobacco for review and approval of your licensing.

Getting Your Alcohol Bond

In order to obtain your Florida alcohol license as a manufacturer or distributor, you have to provide a surety bond as a part of the procedure. The bond serves as an extra layer of protection that you will pay any taxes you owe incurred in the activities under your license.

The bond amounts that you have to post will vary depending on the license type that you apply for. In order to get bonded, you have to cover a small percentage of the required amount called the bond premium. This is your bond cost, which depends on the strength of your personal and business finances. It is typically between 1% and 3% for applicants with a solid financial profile.

Have further questions about the licensing and bonding process for liquor vendors in Florida? Don’t hesitate to contact us at 877.514.5146.

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Victor Lance is the founder and president of Lance Surety Bond Associates, Inc. He began his career as an officer in the U.S. Marine Corps, serving two combat tours. As president of Lance Surety, he now focuses on educating and assisting small businesses throughout the country with various license and bond requirements. Victor graduated from Villanova University with a degree in Business Administration and holds a Masters in Business Administration (MBA) from the University of Michigan's Ross School of Business.