How to Get a Liquor License in Florida

by Andrea Freygang - Updated September 26, 2017

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. Alcohol sales in Florida require one of two main licenses. The first is a quota license, which is only for a full-service alcohol establishment. A quota liquor license in Florida is only offered once a year on a lottery, and more licenses become available yearly as population increases. The second liquor license Florida offers is an SRX, a special restaurant license that can be applied for year-round if 51 percent or more of sales at an establishment is food. There are 54 subcategories of licenses based on the type of business you own. To apply for a Florida liquor license, you must gather certain documents to send with your application.

Check with the local city zoning board to determine whether the location you want to purchase a Florida liquor license for is zoned for serving alcohol. Get a zoning approval document and include it in your liquor license application.

You must also get health approval for safety and sanitation from either the Division of Hotels and Restaurants if you are serving food or the County Health Authority or Department of Health if you are not serving food.

Fingerprinting is also required for a liquor license in Florida. Florida contracts with PearsonVue to handle this. Turn in your receipt from PearsonVue with your application. Be sure to make a copy for yourself.

Gather the social security numbers for anyone who will be on the liquor license application.

Make sure your business is properly registered with the state of Florida. You will need to have a federal employer’s identification number.

Prepare a sketch of the business to submit with your application. Architectural renderings are not accepted.

Get a certified copy of arrest disposition if necessary (only if you answered yes to any questions on the application about your criminal background). You may also need to fill out a “mitigation for moral character” form.

Fill out the application form for a Florida liquor license with information about all the shareholders directly involved with the business. An application can be found online at the Bureau's website.

Mail your application for a Florida liquor license to: ABT Licensing Central Office, 1940 North Monroe Street, Tallahassee, Florida 32399-1021 or your local licensing office.

Tips

  • The documents can be a bit technical, but if you need help filling out your Florida liquor license application, the Bureau customer service can be reached at (850) 487-1395.
    If you need a license temporarily while awaiting approval, you can purchase a temporary one for the larger amount of $100 or one-fourth the annual licensing fee. You may need to send multiple copies of the documents to the Bureau. Be sure to keep one for yourself. It is highly recommended that you read all regulations, both local and statewide, related to applying for a Florida liquor license before applying. These can be found on the Bureau's website.

About the Author

Andrea Freygang has been a freelance writer since 2003 and is based in Fort Lauderdale, FL. She has written for numerous publications across the country on a wide variety of topics, including the "Rome-News Tribune" and "Observer Newspaper." Currently, she is the publisher of BrowardNET, an online newspaper covering Broward County, Florida. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English/journalism from Cameron University.

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