How to Get a Florida Liquor License

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Surety Bond Professionals is a family owned and operated bonding agency with over 30 years of experience. In this guide, we’ll walk you through how to get a Florida liquor license. 

With access to a broad range of surety markets, our expert agents are ready to assist with all of your Florida alcohol tax bond needs.

What Are the Different Types of Florida Liquor Licenses?

Florida issues a number of different types of liquor licenses. Certain types are created as needed and are available for sale, while others are limited in number and are awarded through a lottery. Depending on the type of license you’re seeking and current availability, you may have to purchase an existing liquor license from a current licensee who is looking to sell theirs.

Some licenses allow only the sale of alcohol for consumption on the premises (COP licenses), and some are restricted to establishments that make more money from the sale of food than from the sale of alcoholic beverages. Some liquor licenses can be transferred to another location and some cannot. Some allow the sale of beer and wine only.  Others permit the sale of alcohol for off-premises consumption. 

And then there are licenses for businesses that manufacture distribute, transport, import, or warehouse alcoholic beverages.

What Are the Steps in the Licensing Process?

The variety of license types, each with its own set of licensing requirements, can make getting a liquor license a complicated process involving different applications, approvals, and permits.  One thing that Florida’s Department of Business and Professional Regulation requires of businesses involved in different aspects of the alcoholic beverage industry is that they purchase an Alcoholic Beverages surety bond.

Why is a Florida Alcoholic Beverages Bond Required?

An alcoholic beverages bond is a guarantee that an alcohol-related business operates in compliance with the Beverage Laws in Chapters 561-568 of the Florida Statutes. It also provides financial protection for the state in the event that the business does not remit the proper tax payments. 

The required bond amount varies depending on the type of business, from a low of $5,000 for alcoholic beverage warehouses and manufacturers of wines and cordials to a high of $100,000 for distributors of beer, wine, and liquor. 

How Are Florida Alcoholic Beverages Bond Claims Paid? 

Every alcoholic beverage bond is a legally binding contract among three parties—the “obligee,” the “principal,” and the “surety.”

  • The obligee, the party requiring the bond, is the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation.
  • The principal, the party required to purchase the bond and legally obligated to pay all valid claims is the alcohol-related business.
  • The surety is the company that authorizes and guarantees the bond.  The surety investigates each claim received to ascertain its validity.

Interestingly, though, the surety typically pays claims initially and then is repaid by the principal for the resulting debt, which may involve a series of payments over time. The surety can take legal action against the principal if the principal fails to reimburse the surety.

How Much Does a Florida Alcoholic Beverages Bond Cost?

The annual premium for a Florida alcoholic beverages bond is only a small percentage of the required bond amount (referred to as the bond’s “penal sum”). This is the maximum amount that will be paid on single claim.  The percentage, the premium rate, will be is determined by the surety for each bond, based largely on the principal’s personal credit score. This is the main factor the underwriters consider in assessing the risk of not being repaid for claims payments made on the principal’s behalf.

A principal with a high credit will pay a premium that’s in the range of one to three percent of the bond’s penal sum. The premium rate for a principal with lesser credit will be substantially higher.

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Our surety agents will get you the Florida alcoholic beverages bond you need for a Florida liquor license at a competitive rate.