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To sell liquor, beer or wine in Florida, you must apply for a license from the Florida Division of Alcoholic Beverages and Tobacco Bureau of Licensing (the “Division”). The Division offers several types of licenses. I have had several clients reach out to me after finding themselves stuck in the convoluted and confusing licensing process.
As a starting point, if you are a new business in South Florida wanting to sell alcohol beverages, including beer, wine, or spirits, you need to determine what type of alcohol or liquor license is appropriate for your intended operations. As I mentioned above, there are several Florida alcohol license types available to you through the Division. Below is a description of the ones most commonly applied for:
4COP-SRX Liquor License
4COP-SRX means “Restaurants Selling Beer, Wine, and Spirits”. Restaurants meeting certain criteria can qualify for a “4COP-SRX” license, which allows the licensee to sell beer, wine, and spirits for consumption on-premises only and in connection with a bona-fide restaurant. There is no limit to the number of 4COP-SRX licenses that the Division will issue, as is the case with a 4COP-Quota License (described below).
Most counties require that an applicant for an SRX be: a bona fide restaurant consisting of 2,500 up to 5,000 square feet of floor space under a permanent cover (depending on county), maintain seating and equipment for serving 150 up to 250 patrons at tables at one time (depending on county) and which derives at least 51% of its gross revenue from the sale of food and non-alcoholic beverages. Service of full course meals must be available at all times alcoholic beverages are being served. No package sales of alcoholic beverages are permitted. Many counties and/or cities have special acts governing this issue. You may want to contact the district office handling the county where the license is to be issued for specific information on their regulations.
To qualify for this license type in Broward County, a restaurant must have 2,000 square feet under permanent cover, 150 seats, and least 51 percent of its gross revenue must come from the sale of food and nonalcoholic beverages.
In Broward County, the yearly fee for this license is $1,820.
4COP-QUOTA Liquor License
4COP-QUOTA means “Beer, Wine, and Sprits for Consumption On-Premises”. This license type is typically held by bars, nightclubs, taverns, or other establishments that do not meet the 4COP-SRX restaurant license requirements. Unlike the licenses described above, the number of 4COP licenses is determined by a population-based quota system. A new quota license is created when a county’s population increases by 7,500 residents. These licenses can either be purchased on the open market from an existing license holder, with prices varying based on the market factors of supply and demand, or won through a yearly lottery process.
2COP Liquor License
2COP means “Beer and Wine Consumption on Premises”. This license is for a facility that wishes to sell both beer and wine for on premises consumption. Many small restaurants and sandwich shops hold 2COP licenses. Package sales of beer and wine are allowed in sealed containers under this license type as well, provided that package sales are also allowed by local municipal ordinance. From the stated licenses perspective, there are no restrictions on the number of 2COP liquor licenses that can be issued by the Division in any county.
Fees for this license type vary based on county. Typically, in South Florida, Broward County for example, the yearly license fee is $392.
2APS Liquor License
2APS means “Beer and Wine for Consumption Off-Premises”. This license is for a facility that wishes to sell beer and wine for off-premise consumption only. This license type is typically used by convenience stores, supermarkets, and gas stations.
Fees for this license type vary based on county. Typically, in Broward County the yearly license fee is $196.
Having navigated this process with many clients over the years, I would caution you to give yourself plenty of time (and patience) throughout the liquor license selection and application system. Please do not hesitate to contact me for assistance with this process.